“Heaven is for Real” (PG) is a heartwarming film about a small-town pastor and father finding a way to explain and share his young son’s life-changing experience of heaven. Based on true events and the best-selling book of the same title, this faith drama is a great movie for the entire family.
After four-year old Colton Burpo (played by Conner Corum) miraculously survives an emergency surgery, he starts talking about his experience of heaven. His innocent recounting of his experience and the knowledge of factual events he couldn’t have possibly known challenge his family and community.
As Colton describes singing and laughing angels, meeting his great-grandfather, and Jesus introducing him to his miscarried sister (that his parents never told him about), his parents, Pastor Todd (Greg Kinnear) and Sonja (Kelly Reilly), struggle to make sense of their little boy’s experience and answer questions about God, faith, and heaven.
Meanwhile, his community is thrown into their own struggles and questions about God, heaven, and the validity of a four-year-old’s word.
Kinnear leads the cast in a powerful performance filled with raw emotions that portray the different realities we all face in life. Along with Reilly, they show us a picture of a family dealing with its own struggles and difficulties, but pushing to experience and express love for each other and the world around them.
Newcomer Corum is an adorable little boy with a big responsibility. He successfully delivers his lines with the innocence we expect from a child, but with a maturity to handle the “big” words and emotionally charged scenes.
The cast also includes Lane Styles as Cassie Burpo (Colton’s sister), Thomas Haden Church as Jay Olson (the Burbpo’s dry-witted family friend), and Margo Martindale as Nancy Rawling (a church board member and friend).
“Heaven is for Real” brings us to a small town in Nebraska, but shows us universal struggles families, churches, and communities go through. We can relate with the same questions about faith, the same sense of wonder of things we can’t explain, and the same challenges to accept, forgive, believe, and love.
Heartwarming, inspirational, funny, and dramatic, “Heaven is for Real” is a movie the family can enjoy together. Although some scenes will fly over the heads of young children, parents and/or faith groups might find this movie beneficial to begin discussions about issues like death, sickness, friendship, family, faith, and more.