Heaven is for Real: Movie Review

"Heaven is for Real" the film seemingly wants to give the final conclusion to an unanswerable question. But what audiences get is more like a glimpse than something noteworthy. The film in fact feels that it does not know where it needs to go to. Scenes feel disjointed and incomplete and worse, it chose to select more situations that are extraneous than essential. To be honest, the result is lifeless and dull.

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) and Sonja Burpo (Kelly Reilly) is a couple who struggles to comprehend their son Colton's (Connor Corum) claims to have visited Heaven and has spoken to Jesus Christ himself during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks about things that happened before his birth - things he couldn't possibly know. Todd, a pastor himself, and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning of this remarkable event and how it should affect not only their personal lives but also the members of his community church.

The biggest problem with "Heaven is for Real" is that it probably never takes a stand on who to concentrate the film on. Do we focus on the struggle of Todd Burpo's struggles to comprehend what his son is saying he experienced or does it need to focus more on Colton's unbelievable tale. What we get is both and how we would have wished it was the former as it has a more solid foothold. Also, the film shines when Greg Kinnear takes the limelight. His acting and his scenes are solid and mostly good. The film also seems to focus on the menial stuff - the Burpos struggles with income. The film takes a hefty amount of screen time in showing how Todd broke his leg, has kidney stones that lead to him not being able work his numerous jobs. Now this should have been fine but the film never concludes this properly. One day they couldn't pay the bills and the next they are suddenly all happy and giddy. Maybe they wanted this to be as close to real-life as possible so we get the unnecessary stuff but this is probably the rare times that we agree that the "Based on a True Story" heavy edits that we usually get have their purpose cinematic-wise. Overall, we were left disappointed with "Heaven is for Real".

Rating: 2 reels

Why you should watch it:
- Greg Kinnear was great as an actor but had far few scenes to have a solid impact

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story is convoluted and lacks focus on the important stuff
- feels lifeless and dull overall

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