The Other Side of Heaven


The Other Side of Heaven (2001)


Critic Consensus: The Other Side of Heaven preaches to the converted; others will likely consider it simplistic, even offensive, propaganda.


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Movie Info

A young man from Idaho finds himself in a beautiful but dangerous land in the South Pacific as he follows his faith and tries to spread it to others in this adventure-drama, based on a true story. In 1953, John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) is a 19-year-old student at Brigham Young University, whose greatest adventure in life had been to leave home to go to school in Utah. That all changes when Groberg accepts a missionary assignment in the Tonga Islands near Fiji; Groberg is instructed to "build a kingdom" and educate the natives about the Mormon faith, even though he knows little of their customs and nothing of their language. Leaving behind his sweetheart, Jean Sabin (Anne Hathaway), Groberg arrives in Tonga and is quickly immersed in the native culture, and strives to teach the Tongans about the teachings of the Latter-Day Saints while trying to respect their cultural traditions and face the joys and struggles of primitive life in the South Pacific alongside them. Groberg makes a valuable ally in Feki (Joe Folau), a Tongan who becomes an avid follower of the Mormon faith, but he also finds his loyalty to Jean (with whom he's been maintaining a long-distance relationship through cards and letters) tested when a native girl makes her attraction to him quite clear. Based on the real John Groberg's memoir In the Eye of the Storm, The Other Side of Heaven was produced by Jerry Molen, Academy Award winning producer of Schindler's List and Jurassic Park; it also marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Mitch Davis.

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Critic Reviews for The Other Side of Heaven

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (14)

Captures a breathtaking exotic landscape cluttered only by the smugness of its characters.

Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Your stomach for Heaven depends largely on your appetite for canned corn.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/5

As exciting as all this exoticism might sound to the typical Pax viewer, the rest of us will be lulled into a coma.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 1.5/4

Handsome and sincere but slightly awkward in its combination of entertainment and evangelical boosterism.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The film's implicit premise is that the faith of the Tonga people is in every way inferior to that of John.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 1/5

Obstacles are too easily overcome and there isn't much in the way of character development in the script.

Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Other Side of Heaven


What a great "story". It is quite remarkable how much down played the letters that John wrote home were. He was going through these huge dramas and yet it was so basic in the letters. Very admirable...

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

Neat. I like Tonga.

Curtis Lilly
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

I have a few complaints about the choices made on the storyboard, but it's a REALLY good movie.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer


I thought it was okay. It bored me.

Andrew Fillmore
Andrew Fillmore

Super Reviewer

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