Movie Review: Heaven is For RealQuick Plot Summary: Tells the story of a little boy's heavenly visitation and its effect on his and his family's lives.
Suggested Ages: 10+
This movie can be very encouraging as it brings the reality of eternity and heaven front-and-center and the importance of childlike faith. For Christians, I'd say this is a good thing. Unfortunately, I can't recommend that any unbelievers watch this.
The movie had a "universalistic" tone to it - basically comforting everyone that there was a heaven and implying that everyone went there. It didn't actually say this, but it was inferred fairly strongly. Both the dad's grandfather as well as a church member's son that died and had family members "unsure" of their salvation were comforted that they were indeed there in Heaven. In arguably one of the most critical scenes in the movie, the rationale that was given by the pastor to the church member for why their son was in heaven was basically simply that God loved that son that died enough that he would be in Heaven. This is a flawed argument - God loves everyone but that doesn't mean that everyone responds to that love and is in Heaven. As stated, this movie is encouraging across the board, but for non-believers that's not necessarily a good thing because it can be subtly encouraging them that they're fine just as they are and will go to heaven. The lack of portrayal of the importance of trusting in Christ is concerning because while Heaven is real, so is Hell...
As for the boy's experience, I'll just be honest in saying that I really don't know what to say about it. I didn't particularly have a problem with it, but there were some things I noted. The most fascinating to me is that he says he didn't die - his body never died during the surgery, and yet he still was able to seemingly be in heaven. So it seems that the spirit & soul must have temporarily separated from the body, but the body was still alive...Either that or it really was just a clear vision the Lord gave him. There were other points I found intriquing such as the boy said an unborn child didn't have a name because she wasn't named. I would think though that Jesus would have given her a name...but perhaps Jesus didn't reveal that name to the boy? I won't deny that I also have had the following thoughts running through my head: Even though the boy was 4, he was raised in a pastor's home and surely heard lots of heaven/Christian talk. Also, the family had lots of financial issues which they showed over and over again and does make one wonder a bit about motivation. I'm not saying I doubt the story, I'm just saying these are thoughts that still run through my mind.
In the movie, they also pretty much conclusively shared what Jesus looks like - they showed the picture that represents what Jesus looked like according to the boy. This was painted by another girl that had stated she had seen heaven. I don't necessarily have a problem with this - nor do I actually think it's all that far off from some of the paintings most of us have grown up with - just an observation.
Acting and production quality was good and the little boy actor did a tremendous job - probably couldn't have asked for better.
This review is solely based on the movie, not the book, which I have not read but have been told does a better job at portraying the Gospel.
Reviewed by Christopher Long,