Is Heaven is for Real?
I Saw the movie, “Heaven is for Real” this weekend. It was a great movie to see on Easter….if you’re going to see a movie on Easter. First of all, it was done well, which is always refreshing if you’re a Christian watching a movie made in Hollywood. The last couple of weekends, we’ve gotten Russel Crowe, Emma Watson, Greg Kinnear, and Thomas Haden Church. The cinematography, scriptwriting, and acting were all very good. The boy who played Colton was a magnet. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Other than a few scenes designed to show his playfulness, his performance was very authentic.
I read the book and was concerned how it would play out in a movie. There were several good subplots which kept the story moving forward, although a little slowly throughout the middle. The thinnest, which I thought would have been more interesting, was the story of a woman who lost her son in combat. The story could have mined her struggle a little more because I think it was the one most closely related to the questions being raised by the movie. The previews showed a wonderful scene where Colton tells her that he saw her son in heaven. It was not in the movie and I wonder why it was taken out.
My oldest son was quite put off about the picture of Jesus, or that Jesus was given a ‘face’ in the movie. He felt like it somehow discredited the boy’s experience. I think it was simply part of the story that was true to the boy’s experience. Personally, I think the fact that it was the same image as the girl from Lithuana’s drawing makes for a more compelling argument. His point was that others who say they have seen Jesus have reported different images. By the way, the opening sequence of Akaiane Kramarik’s drawing the eye of that image, into the beginning of the story was stunning.
My youngest was surprised by how the pastor’s church responded to the story as it unfolded in their community. Therein lies the theme of the movie; Is heaven for real? And if it is, how does it affect the way we live our lives on earth? The church response went deeper than whether the boy’s experience was real. It questioned the reality of heaven. Samuel (my son) was surprised by that. But, as we watch Christians live out their lives on earth, do we see an eternal reality? Do we live in such a way as to ‘store up treasures in heaven’? Is our earthly life, heavenly minded?
This is the challenge that Burpo leaves his congregation and the audience with as the movies closes (rather abruptly, I would add): Do we live our lives ‘on earth as it is in heaven?” If we believe heaven is for real, should we?
It’s a good movie and one I would recommend seeing with your family. I found it encouraging, affirming, and well done.