Todd and Sonja Burpo [of Heaven Is for Real] are as normal as any on-screen couple. They just happen to make the Church a large part of their lives.
The hook of the film, a tale based on true events, is that the couple’s child believes he had a near-death experience and saw Heaven. The real treat is watching a spiritual couple handle the matter with grace, love and acceptance.
Those qualities won’t be enough, one suspects, for critics who will be aggravated by the story’s overt spirituality. And a third act moment involving a special person the boy says he saw in Heaven will send some scribes racing to type “propaganda” into their reviews. Truth is, it’s the most beautiful, fragile moment in a film filled with gentle triumphs. …
The film is unabashedly faithful, but it’s more than just a spiritual reassurance. It’s a chance to witness a culture rarely depicted on screen. We often see film characters in church, or praying, but it’s uncommon for church activities to be so integral to their existence without playing directly into plot points.
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