Sunday, February 16, 2014

Heaven is For Real, On the Bigscreen

Imperial Nebraska is maybe an hour away from the town where I grew up. So, I am familiar with the the area. I think our 9th grade team even played them. It is smaller than my town, so our Varsity team does not play there, but I still know Longhorn Country when I see it.

A little over a week ago, I went to a screening of the movie "Heaven is For Real" with my daughter, which is set in Imperial, Nebraska. When the first scene popped up on the screen, I leaned to her and said "That is not Imperial Nebraska."

I thought that understanding would color my experience with the whole movie.

But, as it went on, I found it engaging. A movie is about, even in the midst of all the lessons and thoughts and potential for social change that we ascribe to it, entertainment. I think a big part of that ability of this movie to engage you is due to the director (Randall Wallace - Director of Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Secretariat and The Man in the Iron Mask) and the actors. They included Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Hayden Church and Margo Martindale. If you don't recognize their names right off, you are sure to recognize their faces and some of the works they have been a part of.

Even tho the movie was not filmed in Nebraska, they began to bring to life what small town Nebraska is like in it's business dealings, community life, Diners, Churches, Church politics and atmosphere. While it didn't look like Nebraska, I think they were able to capture the feel of it.  And to the uninitiated, the rows of corn fields and small town downtown will look exactly as they always pictured Nebraska anyways.

Beyond that, they captured the feel of the book quite well too. If you haven't read it or are unfamiliar with it, it is the true story of a young boy that is hospitalized with a life threatening illness. After he pulls through, he starts to drop little tid bits about spending time in heaven, the people he met there, the experiences he had. While some of these things could be explained by the boys imagination and the lessons he learned growing up as a pastor's kid, some of the things he shared could not be explained. Unless the explanation was that he really saw what he said he did and the Heaven is for Real.

While I am sure that those who were a part of the events that took place will say "That's not how it happened!", and those that have been to heaven will look at the glimpses of it in the movie and say, "That's not Heaven!", I think both they and the rest of us can enjoy this movie and leave intrigued with the idea of what heaven will hold for those that go.

Oh, it is set to be released on April 16th. Why not plan on going?

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