5.8/10
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173 user 88 critic

Heaven Is for Real (2014)

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2:24 | Trailer
A small-town father must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.

Director:

Randall Wallace

Writers:

Randall Wallace (screenplay), Chris Parker (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) | 2 more credits »
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Greg Kinnear ... Todd Burpo
Kelly Reilly ... Sonja Burpo
Thomas Haden Church ... Jay Wilkins
Connor Corum ... Colton Burpo
Lane Styles ... Cassie Burpo
Margo Martindale ... Nancy Rawling
Jacob Vargas ... Michael
Thanya Romero Thanya Romero ... Rosa
Danso Gordon ... Ray
Rob Moran ... Dr. O'Holleran
Nancy Sorel ... Dr. Charlotte Slater
Darcy Fehr ... Lee Watson
Vivian Winther ... Katherine Watson
Pete Hudson Pete Hudson ... Old Man Watson
Ursula Clark Ursula Clark ... Painting Girl
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Storyline

This is the story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. His son Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth... things he couldn't possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event. The church turns on him and so does eveyone who is closer or further to him including his wife. Written by Sony Pictures Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Unlock the mystery. Discover what is real. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG thematic material including some medical situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cielo sí existe See more »

Filming Locations:

Warren, Manitoba, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,522,221, 20 April 2014

Gross USA:

$91,443,253

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$101,332,962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (ACES)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The two main male characters Graig Kinnear and Thomas Church they were born the same day - June 17, and the two main female characters Kelly Reilly and Margo Martindale they were born the same day too - July 18 ! See more »

Goofs

There is a scene in the movie that depicts the Burpo's home shaking due to a train passing by. In reality, although there are train tracks that go into Imperial, they do not pass through - they literally stop in Imperial, although the track bed was laid out for miles past the west side of the town. In addition, the Burpo's home is located at the north end of Imperial where the tracks come into town on the south side. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Todd Burpo: Is heaven a hope? Or as real as the earth and sky? I once asked my grandfather that question. And he said by the time he knew the answer, it would be too late for him to tell me. The day would come when I asked that question again, staring into the eyes of my son.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nook's Nifty Nitpicks: Heaven Is for Real (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

This Little Light Of Mine
Written by Harry Dixon Loes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Nice Family Drama, Not Even Remotely Preachy
18 April 2014 | by RichardSRussell-1See all my reviews

Heaven Is for Real (1:39, PG) — borderline, 3rd string, original

You might be surprised that this film attracted an atheist activist like me. But I went to see it because — as part of my self-imposed obligation to catch EVERY science-fiction and fantasy movie that hits town so I can review them for my listserv and at SF cons — it looked like it might have some fantasy elements. I ended up classifying it as "borderline", which is where I put movies that are not clearly SF or fantasy but might be if viewed from a certain angle. This one leaves it open to interpretation whether little 4-year-old Colton Burpo actually experienced a trip to heaven while he was unconscious on the operating table at death's doorstep with a burst appendix.

The Burpos are presented as being among the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and not in any "holier than thou" sense but as solid, down-to-Earth working folk, a kind, loving, and happy family. The dad, Todd Burpo, a part-time Protestant minister in Imperial, Kansas, is humble and declines the title "Reverend", saying "Call me Todd" even to members of his own congregation. He wears a work shirt and sits in the pews with the other congregants while the church service is doing other things, like Bible readings or singing led by Todd's wife Sonja.

The skeptical attitude is clearly articulated by several different characters in the film, including Todd Burpo himself, who's obviously having trouble wrestling with and reacting to what his son has been saying about his brief sojourn in heaven. And the conclusion is not some grand revelation or depiction of the "real" heaven but rather an informal sermon in which Todd (well played by Greg Kinnear) talks thru his uncertainties and tells his fellow congregants that "on Earth as it is in heaven" means that we should each value the little bit of heaven we share when we appreciate the people who love us.

Frankly, an avowed humanist couldn't have put it much better.

Still, there's the obvious fact that little Colton has been drenched in religion for almost his entire waking life, and that such total immersion surely accounts for everything he claims to have seen. And the Burpos had been having serious financial difficulties, a not-so-subtle motive for playing Colton's story for any financial benefit it might bring. Nor does the film stint from dramatizing those perfectly naturalistic explanations.

In short, if you were expecting a piece of pious propaganda, this isn't it. It's more like a nice, non-saccharine family drama with unusual subject matter, kind of along the lines of We Bought a Zoo. On my 9-point scale, it rates a 6.


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