Sunday, April 20, 2014

Heaven is for Real

Director: Randall Wallace
With: Colton Corum, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Margo Martindale

I had no idea that this movie exists until my sister told me about it. It was the same day when she told me that they're going to watch it on a Black Saturday. They invited me to go with them but was kind of hesitant because of my foot injury (that's been keeping me from travelling for months now). But then I went with them because I was already rotting at home and I could use an exercise.

I gotta be honest the trailer didn't impress me but with its material and the Lenten season, I said to myself, why not?

So I willingly watched it. Heaven is for Real. The title is something...

Heaven is for Real started with Greg Kinnear's character, Pastor Todd Burpo asking this question--"Is heaven for real?, or just a place on Earth?".

He's saying it to his fellows but I'm pretty sure that it also made all the people in the movie house think. I'm guilty. So let me tell you a story. I'm not the most devout person you'll know but I have faith and I Believe. I'm quite skeptical about supernatural stories but there are some stories that I choose to believe.

10 years ago or so, my grandmother was rushed to the hospital. She had a heart attack and we were told that her chances of living was slim. My aunts and uncle from other countries immediately went back here in the Philippines. Our relatives in Masbate, my lola's hometown, already prepared for her loss. They bought pigs and cows to kill for food for the inevitable funeral.

We've already expected that my lola's time had come. Her heart beat already stopped for a minute and some seconds. But she survived it and was revived by the doctors. She went to live for a couple more years until her death last year.

During her borrowed time, she told us a story that during her days in the hospital, she saw herself sleeping. Whether it was a dream, hallucination or her soul wandered while she's sick, I am not sure but it sure sound like a near death experience. She told us that she saw her family and everything was white. She also saw a light through a doorway and I can only interpret it as heaven.

I never believed these kind of stories until my Lola told us her experience. I just know that there's no way my grandmother invented it. My lola has always been a strict and disciplined woman, from my mother's stories. I don't see her telling fantasies because it's just not in my lola's personality. So I believe my lola.

That's why when I was watching Heaven is for Real, I can't help but be contemplative so I affirmed its goodness, its content. Because it's a story affirming that heaven is real. And many doubt it, even the believers in the movie. Even Pastor Todd Burpo who wrote the book about his son who experienced heaven. It's a film with a powerful subject and this writeup could never ever change everyone's beliefs so thanks for reading and I'll just move on to technicalities.

I must say that I didn't like Randall Wallace direction style. He made this movie with a vision. The downside is, his vision is more of like a vision of a child. Can't blame him because the visions of Heaven according to the movie is from a child. So..yeah. But he could have made it less cartoonish. It's obviously a film with a subject matter that's hard to adapt into a film so I guess it's acceptable. But aside from that, it also had tonal inconsistencies. I sound like a nitpicker here after affirming the content of the film but that's just how it is.

It's not preachy but it's also quite slow sometimes. It could have hit its jackpot in portraying that heaven is real but it's too safe in adapting it.

Its strongest aspect is the actors, especially Greg Kinnear and the one who portrayed Colton, the child who had a heavenly experience, literally. He's the main source of cuteness and entertainment. Can't help but compare him to Santino of May Bukas Pa. lol. He delivers punch lines so naturally like he does it his whole life.

I wish I could say that it touched me more than it intended its viewers to be but it's a good enough film that it effectively made me reflect on a personal level.