Review by Al Menconi, April 16, 2014
I just watched the best and most politically incorrect “Christian” movie since Charlton Heston Played Ben Hur. I’m serious!
Heaven Is for Real isn’t the typical “Christian movie” where the acting is stiff and amateurish nor does the storyline club you into submission with a hellfire and brimstone message. No, this well written and wonderfully acted film asks questions as it presents evidence. Do you believe?
Heaven Is for Real is based on the true story of the four-year-old son of a small town preacher from Nebraska. The little boy almost dies of appendicitis and when he is being operated on he goes to Heaven and meets Jesus and some people he couldn’t possibly have known from before. He also shares vivid descriptions of what he saw and experienced. Is it real?
When he survives the operation, as a normal four-year-old, he doesn’t get excited and blurt out everything he saw. But his story comes out in little snippets throughout the film, each “snippet” confuses the parents. How can he know this?
I loved the interaction with his father and the father with the mother. They obviously loved each other and were honest with their feelings. But it wasn’t an easy experience for the family, church, or the community. How do you tell people that your son went to Heaven and had all these experiences without people thinking you are off your rocker. It can’t be real, can it?
If you haven’t read the book, I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you too much. But the film continually asks the question, “Is Heaven for real?” I have always believed Heaven is real and have personally accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I still was challenged to wonder if this boy actually met the spirit of dead relatives he couldn’t possibly have known. Did the angels sing just for him? Did he really sit on Jesus’ lap?
The father had been teaching that Christianity and Heaven is real for years but when his faith is tested by his son’s experience, he didn’t know what to believe. The church leaders were confused and the town’s people were beginning to lose respect for their minister.
That’s why I believe everyone needs to see this film, even – no, especially – your non-believing friends. It doesn’t have pat answers to the questions it asks, but it causes you to think. “What do I really believe?”
What do you believe? Could this little boy have gone to heaven and sat on the lap of Jesus? If Heaven is real, then you have to ask, Is Jesus real? Is the Bible true? If the Bible is true, then what? What am I going to do with what I know?
Heaven... is cute but not saccharine. I am certain you will read and hear reviews that will tell you this film isn’t worth your time and/or it couldn’t possibly be true. But as a person who has studied Scripture for more than forty years, I can honestly say there is nothing in this film that is non biblical. I’m saying it could be true and I believe this boy could have visited Heaven. And it gives me more of a desire to have my faith become sight.
But does it matter if this story is true or not? You still have to answer the same questions. Is there a Heaven? Is Jesus God? Is the Bible true? What are you going to do with what you know? You don’t need to see this film to answer those questions, but this film will give you something to chew on and to discuss with your family and friends.
Along with millions of others I read the book, so I knew the story and how it was going to turn out, but I loved how the film brought the book to life. It made me want to read the it again AND I’m going to watch the film again.
This is worth your time. No matter what the secular reviewers say, I give it a great big A. Why not invite your friends and go see it tonight?