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Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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4.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 86 Ratings

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  • Summary: Todd (Greg Kinnear) and Sonja (Kelly Reilly) Burpo's son, Colton (Connor Corum), 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 hisTodd (Greg Kinnear) and Sonja (Kelly Reilly) Burpo's son, Colton (Connor Corum), 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. Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 17, 2014
    83
    Heaven Is for Real works in mysterious ways for a faith-based movie. It actually leaves room for doubt, in a genre founded on Christian absolutes. Tears aren't jerked; bibles aren't thumped. Believing gets easier.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 16, 2014
    63
    While Heaven Is for Real asks a lot of questions, it ultimately has no doubt whatsoever about the answers. Take it on faith or not at all.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 16, 2014
    60
    Although it has some serious flaws, it rises above genre fare, thanks to Greg Kinnear's intriguing performance and the work of a good cast.
  4. 50
    Whatever the film’s other failings, it presents an incredible story with a credulous, approachable innocence that it to be envied, whether or not you believe a word of it.
  5. Reviewed by: Odie Henderson
    Apr 16, 2014
    50
    Unlike the recent "God’s Not Dead," which is the "Beaches" of faith-based films in that it embodies every single complaint against its genre, Heaven is for Real attempts to cast a wider audience net.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 16, 2014
    50
    What the movie could use is a little more faith — in the power of its message and the art of filmmaking. Instead, Heaven is sincere to a fault, and the closer it gets to heaven, the more it wavers.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Apr 16, 2014
    20
    As much an inspirational email forward as a film, it’s helped by the work of a strong cast and some photography that makes Nebraska look like heaven on earth. That doesn’t make it persuasive, however.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 10 out of 29
  1. Apr 18, 2014
    10
    Very moving, touching and well-acted movie based on a true story. Heaven is truly for real. Heartfelt and emotionally charged that willVery moving, touching and well-acted movie based on a true story. Heaven is truly for real. Heartfelt and emotionally charged that will make you feel real hope and compassion. A must see! Expand
  2. Apr 18, 2014
    10
    This was the best movie I've ever seen in my entire life! This film really touched my heart. A must-see film for everyone!! I definitely planThis was the best movie I've ever seen in my entire life! This film really touched my heart. A must-see film for everyone!! I definitely plan on seeing this movie AGAIN!!! Expand
  3. Apr 23, 2014
    8
    Having read and loving Todd Burpo’s best-selling true story HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, about his four-year-old son, Colton, and his near-deathHaving read and loving Todd Burpo’s best-selling true story HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, about his four-year-old son, Colton, and his near-death experience in which he was seemingly given a vivid glimpse of heaven, and then finding out later that the book was being adapted into a major motion picture, I had high hopes that perhaps Hollywood might get this one right. However, I couldn’t help but fear the worst that like almost all other well-intentioned, but under-financed faith-based films produced on low budgets, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL would ultimately end up being just another cinematic sham. Imagine then my heightened optimism when A-list, Oscar-nominated actor Greg Kinnear (AS GOOD AS IT GETS) was snagged to play Burpo and that the film was being directed (and its story adapted to the big-screen) by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Barry Wallace (BRAVEHEART).

    Those that loved the best-selling book (over 8 million in paperbacks and eBooks sold) will be pleasantly surprised and greatly relieved to know that screenwriter Wallace has done a masterful job of bringing this touching and inspiring true story to the big screen. That is not to say that the 100-minute film has much (if any) chance of swaying skeptics into accepting the existence of heaven and Jesus Christ as the keeper of the keys. However, Wallace has confidently and faithfully truncated the source material into a movie that more than captures the spirit of the book. With a brilliant marketing move of an Easter weekend release, the film is already a huge hit with Christian filmgoers, and may even become a cross-over success with other film audience demographic categories as well. Despite mixed reviews from film critics (48/100 on Metacritic.com) Sony Pictures is reportedly thrilled with the surprise opening success of the film, with it already earning nearly $30 million, more than doubling its $12 million budget in just five days. Couple those figures with the strong word-of-mouth buzz from the opening weekend movie-goers, and it appears that HEAVEN IS FOR REAL may have much stronger legs than anyone had ever expected.
    Kinnear’s performance in HEAVEN IS FOR REAL may very well be his very best to date, as Todd Burpo, a hard-working, vastly underpaid pastor having to find multiple jobs to support his family and serve his community as a volunteer fireman as well. Kinnear brings such sincerity, nobility, and gentle humor to his role that one can’t help but root for him to pull his family through the turmoil that these unsolicited revelations have caused. It will be interesting to see if Hollywood will acknowledge Kinnear’s work here come award season. Although I feel that he is deserving (so far) for a Best Actor nomination, its still early in the year, and the competition will undoubtedly get tough as the fall releases begin to come out. It may also be too much for Hollywood to be able to give such obvious recognition to a low-budget, faith-based film, though it would not be breaking a precedent to do so. Anyone remember Sidney Poitier’s Oscar win for LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963) or Robert Duvall’s for TENDER MERCIES (1983)?
    Kinnear’s excellent performance is also enhanced when sharing the screen with six-year-old newcomer, Connor Corum, as Colton. Wallace (putting on his director’s hat) picked young Corum out from a nationwide casting call and was specifically looking for a boy who could speak with “an absolutely honest and open heart.” Kinnear and Corum’s scenes together are so very natural and believable that I was taken back to the Oscar-nominated performances of Dustin Hoffman and (then) six-year-old Justin Henry in KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979). Though Kelly Reilly as Connor’s mom and Todd’s wife is clearly the weak casting link in the film (her scenes, whether with Kinnear and/or Corum, or not, never really ring true) the film is blessed with strong supporting roles by Oscar-nominee Thomas Haden Church (SIDEWAYS) as Todd’s best friend, and Margo Martindale (AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) as a skeptical and concerned church board member. Both of these well-recognized actors add great credibility to the otherwise unknown and less experienced cast. The film’s cinematography, helmed by Oscar-winner, Dean Semler (DANCES WITH WOLVES) is gorgeous, and tasteful throughout, especially when depicting heavenly angels floating in bright sunlit, puffy clouded skies, and during the Rockwell-like farmland landscapes of Nebraska (actually shot in Ontario). However, besides Reilly’s unconvincing portrayal as Sonja, another weak point in the film is its original music score which is rather bland and formulaic, and is out-classed by the handful of contemporary worship songs sprinkled throughout the movie that are far more supportive. Grade = B+
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  4. Oct 21, 2014
    6
    Very thought provoking and interesting (enough to keep me watching) It's not about the entertainment, the reviews, the story or acting. NotVery thought provoking and interesting (enough to keep me watching) It's not about the entertainment, the reviews, the story or acting. Not the cast or the writing, not even the set. It's about faith. Maybe not a very well example, but still counts. What do you believe? Expand
  5. chw
    Aug 9, 2014
    5
    Heaven is for Real is too much of a religious movie for my tastes, and besides that it was so boring!! Some true stories aren't meant to beHeaven is for Real is too much of a religious movie for my tastes, and besides that it was so boring!! Some true stories aren't meant to be told, and this is one of them!! Expand
  6. Apr 30, 2014
    3
    Dumb. Boring. Pointless. Illogical. What do these words have in common? They describe religious propagand films like this, of course. It's notDumb. Boring. Pointless. Illogical. What do these words have in common? They describe religious propagand films like this, of course. It's not as bad as other films of the same kind I've seen but, its still pretty stupid. Are you really gonna believe what a dumb little kid says? Expand
  7. Sep 4, 2014
    0
    The whole movie seems based on a 5 minute video interview to the kid and parents. The rest of the movie were fillers. When the movie is over,The whole movie seems based on a 5 minute video interview to the kid and parents. The rest of the movie were fillers. When the movie is over, I started wondering if the kid's story was even real, as he used language that was part of his life, being in a very religious family. I had high hopes, but was utterly disappointed. Greg Kinnear was great in it, though. Expand

See all 29 User Reviews

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