Heaven Is for Real


Heaven Is for Real

Critics Consensus

Heaven Is for Real boasts a well-written screenplay and a talented cast, but overextends itself with heavy-handed sequences depicting concepts it could have trusted the audience to take on faith.



Total Count: 87


Audience Score

User Ratings: 59,712
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Movie Info

Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. The film stars Academy Award (R) nominee and Emmy (R) award winning actor Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo and co-stars Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo, the real-life couple whose son Colton (newcomer 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. (c) Sony


Greg Kinnear
as Todd Burpo
Kelly Reilly
as Sonja Burpo
Connor Corum
as Colton Burpo
Margo Martindale
as Nancy Rawling
Lane Styles
as Cassie Burpo
Jacob Vargas
as Michael
Rob Moran
as Dr. O'Holleran
Nancy Sorel
as Dr. Charlotte Slater
Darcy Fehr
as Lee Watson
Vivian Winther
as Katherine Watson
Peter Hudson
as Old Man Watson
Randy Apostle
as Slim Forrest
Julia Arkos
as Newspaper Reporter
Candace Smith
as Pay Clerk
Cruise Brown
as Playground Boy
Keenan Lehmann
as Playground Boy
Michael Mills
as Marine C.O.
Kevin Anderson
as Mr. Baxter
Jon Ted Wynne
as Mr. Jackson
Darren Feibel
as Mr. Parker
Lois Brothers
as Woman from Choir Group
Mike Bell
as Bubba
Susan Kelso
as Neighbor Lady
John B. Lowe
as Todd's Doctor
Mitch Ainley
as Heywood
Mike Palmer
as Fire Chief
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Critic Reviews for Heaven Is for Real

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (44)

Audience Reviews for Heaven Is for Real

  • Jun 22, 2015
    Sweet, but a little slow.
    Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2015
    The movie was average, the book was better.
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2014
    Any film requires an analysis that stands as independent from its original source material, which in this case is the book entitled "Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back", for the purpose of making a fairer objective evaluation. The remaining subjective percentage depends on the gut feeling of the viewer. That shall be my stand while writing a small review for this film. However, when it comes to stories that deal with God, the Bible, Heaven, Jesuschrist and other related topics, it is important - but not necessary - for me to split my review into two independent sections so that any reader, regardless of his/her beliefs, can have access to both my cinematic perspective and my Christian point of view. So let's work on the first part: For treating such a transcendental topic for humanity, which is the existence of God and Heaven itself, the overall message seems to be dependent more on its melodramatic aspects than in the seriousness of it all, resulting in a timidity to display its true colors. With terrible pacing issues that take us from the death of the child in the hospital to a scene where he is suddenly playing with his father in a teeter-totter because he had already COME BACK TO LIFE and LEFT THE HOSPITAL, the entire movie feels like a very nervous child making a very shy class presentation in front of his classmates about a very interesting topic, rushing everything to finish fast. Shockingly, the movie title decided to partially borrow the original title of the book, which is an affirmation in itself ("Heaven IS for real"), but then decides to appeal to the sensibilities of a varied, mainstream audience, not declaring a stance specifically and remaining neutral for the sake of religious tolerance. The concept of "Heaven" ends up being left to the interpretation of the viewer's appreciation of life. "Heaven is everywhere. Heaven is all of us. We can have a little piece of Heaven in this life if we are better people." It does have some valid points and interesting questionings, such as the almost heated debate held between the father and the female psychology professor who offers naturalistic explanations and Einsteinian concepts for explaining the metaphysical experience of the son. Also, we have the scope of a village that tries to manipulate the father, who happens to be a small-time priest, into saying things as long as they seem coherent and not scandalous, such as having a son who claims to have made a journey to Heaven and back. How much is too much? That's irony at its finest. But then again, none of these arguments are answered or discussed to a degree that guarantees reflection. What would normally take hours, if not days, to discuss, finishes in 5 minutes with a melodramatic "final punch line" to make the scene seem thought-provoking. With an idealistic idyllic setting, an idealistic family with idealistic life conditions, and a seemingly idealistic but actually aggressive rural community, "Heaven Is for Real" opts for the easy path and offers an unbelievable perspective about a transcendent topic with no self-assurance, direct remarks, memorable moments, thought-provoking argumentations or subsequent reflections that might actually bring something to the table. Flat and uninspired, the whole show is, overall, a forgettable story of dramatically manipulated metaphysical themes with a questionable veracity. And as for the Christian perspective, I shall make it as brief as possible, in case you're interested to read; if not, proceed to the final rating. What ends up being downright disturbing about the film, beyond how shallow it is, is the message. The novel is considered to be a "Christian novel" that recounts the true events of the Protestant family, the Burpos. Protestant Christians consider the Bible as the only source of revealed truth. The whole message in the film is entirely anti-biblical, claiming that Heaven is everywhere, and Heaven is all of us living in some sort of impossible, pretty and pink harmony. Basically, it adopts a relativist perspective. How comfortable... Heaven is the place where God resides, and where those that have accepted Christ into their hearts shall remain for eternity. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." - Ephesians 4:10 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." - 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." - Luke 23:43 "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" - 1 Kings 8:27 A work being catalogued as Christian should consider that the most important work to be done, above all things, is the conversion of souls to Christ, which is not the film's main aim, and I speak from a Protestant point of view, which most probably is the perspective of the author. So, for a film which title I agree with, I do not agree with most of its content nor its entire delivery, so I cannot recommend it either for Christians or non-believers. 37/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2014
    Based on true events, Heaven Is For Real is a compelling character drama from writer/director Randall Wallace. Starring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, and Thomas Haden Church, the film has a good cast that delivers some strong performances. The story follows a country pastor who goes through a crisis of faith when his son claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. It's rather interesting how the issues of faith and Heaven are dealt with, and kept on a personal level. Still, the answers the film provides are a rather passe and superficial. Heaven Is For Real presents a unique and provocative look at spiritual issues, but it doesn't offer anything that revelatory.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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