Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Heaven Is for Real Review - 3 Stars

“Heaven is for Real” comes into the cineplex with a base of fans who have read and admire the best-selling book by Paster Todd Burpo. This Christian minister touched a nerve when he published the story of his four-year old son’s insistence that he visited heaven, met Jesus and people from the Burpo family during a potentially fatal operation.   The movie casts the very believable Greg Kinnear as Paster Burpo.  Kinnear does well in these middle class father roles — just think of the Dad in “Little Miss Sunshine” except this time as a man of faith, and also of humor and humanity.  The little boy–played by child actor Connor Corum–has the right mix of belief and acceptance and doesn’t get too cute with it.  “Heaven is for Real” deals out a surprise:  Instead of acceptance, Kinnear and many in his congregation find this experience a challenge to their faith.  They don’t want to believe it.  Many who watch the movie may not want to believe or accept it either.  Unlike most faith-based films, “Heaven is for Real” doesn’t mind leaving a mystery unsolved.  Kinnear gets a boost from an excellent cast, including Kelly Reilly as his wife and Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale as members of his congregation.   Occasionally they let the script get a little too cute, but “Heave is for Real” does portray church going and faith realistically and without prejudice. I think the filmmakers erred in actually visualizing some of the child’s story.  They ought to know that mystery trumps all.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Story of faith and challenge.  Is it entertaining?  Good acting and strong cast.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Yes.