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May 27 2014


Heaven Is for Real Download Or Watch - 720p

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There's at least one indisputable truth in "Heaven is for Real," stated by Reverend Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear): "What we believe changes what we perceive."Of course it does. It's the reason some will see that the film is based on a true story and interpret that as the true story of a little boy who saw heaven and returned to tell about it, and others will see it as the story of a boy who said he did. Regardless, it's a movie that toys with ideas only to cast them aside and let feelings stand in their place.

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A husband and father of two who somehow finds time to be a volunteer firefighter, wrestling coach and owner of a garage door service and repair company, Todd is stumped when his four-year-old son Colton (Connor Corum) begins telling unusual stories after surviving a ruptured appendix. The kid says he had an out-of-body experience and witnessed his mom (Kelly Reilly of "Flight") asking townspeople to pray and dad "yelling at God," which he was, in the inevitable "Don't you take my son!" scene. More notably, Colton says that he went to heaven, where he sat on Jesus' lap and the angels laughed when the boy asked if they could sing Queen's "We Will Rock You."Thankfully, the angels make no ultra-conservative statements about the band's singer, the late Freddie Mercury, or his spot in heaven.For a while, "Heaven is for Real" surprises: It threatens to take a faith-based story (note the pre-Good Friday release date) and suggest that believers may backpedal when faced with a spiritual challenge.

It's only a tease; the film never requires Todd—or anyone else—to make a tough decision. The church board (including Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale) ponders replacing him, but not urgently. Todd owes mega-bucks but never considers profiting from his son's story. The Reverend mostly brushes aside the question of how confirming heaven's existence may impact how people live.So "Heaven is for Real" fumbles for um-when-in-doubt-just-believe answers instead of following through on the hard questions. Puzzling on a lower level are the bizarre filmographies of co-writer Chris Parker (who wrote "Vampire in Brooklyn," straight-to-video "Mulan II" and dance-related bomb "Battle of the Year") and director/co-writer Randall Wallace ("The Man in the Iron Mask," "We Were Soldiers," "Secretariat"). They've now collaborated to depict a conventional version of heaven and perhaps the first movie to take place in Nebraska and Lithuania and absolutely nowhere in between.

For a film that's explicitly about the power of God, the promise of an afterlife, and the salvation of Jesus Christ, Heaven Is for Real, adapted from the bestselling Christian book of the same name, feels hardly devotional; in fact, it's rather defensive, not to mention indignant, hardened, and petulant. It tells the "true story" of Colton Burpo (Connor Corum), a four-year-old boy whose near-death experience supposedly took him to heaven, where he conversed with Jesus (who rode a rainbow-colored horse), stood in God's presence, hung out with dead relatives he never met, and encountered a bunch of other apparently irrefutable things he recounted to his family in the months following. His father, Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear), a reverend, small-business owner, and volunteer firefighter, is at first dubious, but eventually convinced of his son's claims and uses them to kick-start both his own waning beliefs and those of his skeptical flock.

Like its source material, which was co-written by the real Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent (Sarah Palin's ghostwriter, interestingly enough) and published six years after Colton's ostensible trip to paradise, Heaven Is for Real is firmly rooted in evangelical rhetoric and post-Bush conservatism, playing off the charms of the adorable little boy at its center while boasting an obstinate you-weren't-there-so-you-can't-disprove-it attitude. Quite dogmatically, the film demands we accept the second- and third-hand accounts of things that allegedly happened to Colton as fact, leaving non-believers to look for their inspiration elsewhere. Heaven Is For Real is, then, a film by Christians, for Christians, and deliberately, if subtly, antagonistic toward everyone else.

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In adapting the book, Wallace and co-screenwriter Chris Parker excise a good deal of Burpo's thinly veiled judgments (concerning nonbelievers, the author condescendingly wonders, "In times of crisis, where does their support come from?") and more outlandish assertions (toward the end of the book, he writes that his son also claimed to have caught a sneak peek of the end of days—of Satan, hell,(Download Heaven Is for Real) and the apocalypse), though his "conservative values" are still felt in the film's depiction of agency-free wives and minorities as mere window dressing. Like Colton's visions (or, more accurately, his father's fishy novelization of his visions), these aspects are central to Heaven Is for Real's faith-is-for-winners narrative, which ultimately proclaims that Jesus lives, and he's exactly what Pat Robertson says he's like.

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