Heaven Is For Real

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Margo Martindale, Thomas Haden Church, Jacob Vargas, Connor Corum

Directed By: Randall Wallace

Almost like a Hallmark Hall Of Fame movie. It feels harmless, but lacking in quality, like an average TV movie. It’s not the type of movie that you hate, but I’m glad I caught it on DVD instead of in theatres. It doesn’t feel like a cinematic film. I’m pretty sure this could have aired on CBS as a special Sunday Night Film… back when the networks still made movies.

Greg Kinnear does a good job with the light material he’s given, charged with being a good guy in a PG christian-themed movie. He seems like he’d be a good father in real life. Kelly Reilly feels out of place, and has no chemistry with Kinnear. Martindale and Church’s roles are too insignificant to really mention.

The child, Connor Corum, isn’t a great actor. He’s cute. He’s undeniably cute. And I’ve seen worse child actors, to be honest. The girl in And So It Goes, for example. Connor is only six, and I can only imagine how daunting this task was for him. However, I have to remember that Dakota Fanning was seven in I Am Sam. There’s something to be said about the role Connor is playing, and how it almost required the innocence and inexperience that Connor has. A better child actor might have ruined the role. I’m divided. I don’t want to bash the poor child, but I definitely didn’t feel like he was ever really comfortable in the role, or understood the lines he was saying.

It felt a lot like, smile here, walk here, talk here. Greg Kinnear may be the star, but Connor is the character that makes or breaks the film.

As far as the story, I felt that it was pandering a bit. I don’t understand why he goes and sees a psychologist, asks her for her opinion, and basically writes it off because she’s a non-believer. You wanted to be challenged, but what you really wanted was someone to tell you you’re not crazy. In fact, that’s basically what Kinnear spends most of the time doing, is just trying to find one person who doesn’t think he’s crazy, or that his son is crazy. Finally, in true “Hallmark” fashion, everything works out in the end and is wrapped up with a neat bow.

It poses a lot of interesting questions, and in real life, I’d have no choice but to believe this child. The things he knows are remarkable, and impossible to explain. It’s a true miracle. As a film, it feels labored, and at times it sacrifices good storytelling or progression in favor of pandering to a target demographic. It worked, as the film was a huge hit at the box office. I doubt this film will be remembered for years to come, as it is missing the DNA of a time honored classic. It’s a movie for the moment, and the moment has long passed.

FINAL GRADE: C-

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