Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Heaven is For Real [2014]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-1)  AARP (3 1/2 Stars) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 - 4 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune/Variety (J. Chung) review
AARP-MfG (B. Newcott) review (O. Henderson) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Heaven is For Real [2014] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Randall Wallace along with Chris Parker, based on the book by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent) released just in time for Passover and the Christian celebrations Easter ends a remarkably respectful Lent this year by Hollywood, one which featured other Biblically themed films including Son of God [2014] and Noah [2014].

It's a hopeful (and true) story about a little boy named Colton Burpo (played by Conner Corum) who had a near death experience of Heaven after he nearly died.  Coming to after nearly dying, he surprised everyone, including his parents (played by Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly), with his straight-forward talking of things literally "not of this earth," things about both his family history and "things of God / the Christian faith" that AS A FOUR YEAR OLD he could not have known or easily made-up, things like Jesus' Stigmata (Colton was growing up in a Methodist household, Colton's dad being a Methodist minister) or Jesus' eye color (few to no one would have invented this detail, much less a four year old, much less the color that the four year old matter-of-factly mentioned it was -- neither "really weird" nor particularly expected).  So what happened?

It's a lovely and again hopeful story released as a film just in time for our (Christian) celebration of Jesus' Resurrection at Easter.

Do Catholics / Christians have to believe the contents of this film?  Of course not (one does not have to believe ANY "private revelation").  But it does support the basic message of the Jesus' Gospel, that "God is With Us" (Matt 1:23, Matt 28:20) through the whole of our lives and that even Death does not have he Final Word, the final Word remains with God, "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End." (Rev 22:12-13).

So in the midst of a very busy next few days (I'm writing this during Holy Week as we approach the beginning of the Triduum tomorrow) this would not be an entirely waste of time to see (but do go to the Liturgies first ;-)

But in any case Happy Holy Week and Happy Easter all!

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