Movie Review Heaven Is for Real
There is an interesting movie called Heaven Is for Real which talks about a family of a priest whose little son has seen Jesus and other wonderful things while having a near-death experience. At first, the family is reluctant to believe the son, but soon they come to accept his revelations while the community pressures the priest mistrusting him and his sons' words. The movie talks about important family issues such as trust and control; also, it raises awareness about social issues that as stigmatization, stereotypes, pressure, and acceptance. The social context of the movie is dictated by the job of the main character who is a priest. Thus, he has to deal with initial skepticism of the religious community he interacts with while balancing it with the relations with his son and family. The movie is very new; it was released in 2014. Generally, it speaks about the relevant issue concerning people's ability to accept something new and move beyond the stereotypes and limits they used to face.
The movie is a drama film
It centers around the life of a Christian family and the changes it experiences after the little son goes through a dangerous surgery and miraculously survives. The son, Colton, is a four-year-old boy, whose father Todd is a priest and a firefighter. During surgery, Colton talks to Jesus, sees his unborn sister and grandfather who died long before his birth. He also sees his mom being worried and calling all of their friends to pray for him. He also sees his desperate father screaming during his prayers out of the fear of losing his son. The son survives, and the doctors call it a miracle. After that, Colton starts talking about his visions revealing what he saw when he was operated. Colton's words make his parents wonder what really happened to him, because they have a hard time accepting the fact that a miracle could really happen. Here, viewers can see a certain irony, because the father, who is a priest, has doubts concerning his son's experience. Todd does not know how to explain what Colton has seen. He knows that his son's heart never stopped and he was alive throughout the entire surgery, so it is difficult for a father to believe his son at first. Nevertheless, he learns that trusting his son is the most important thing, and he shares his trust with the members of the Christian community he works for. Nevertheless, people mistrust Colton's story making fun of Todd and viewing Colton as a strange child. Todd's wife, Sonja, accepts her sons' ideas after he tells her he saw his unborn sister (Sonja had a miscarriage, but Colton did not know about it before the surgery). As the family unites in believing and supporting Colton, they are able to develop stronger ties with each other, communicate more, as well as discuss issues, which used to be hidden or overlooked. Soon, the community changes its opinion on Colton's experience thanks to his family's confidence and passionate speech delivered by the priest.
As it was mentioned before, there are many family issues the movie portrays. For instance, it talks about establishing trust within a family, accepting truth, and taking control over one's life. For instance, the family members choose to trust the son after all despite having no proof of him seeing Heaven for real. Also, thanks to his words, the family is finally able to talk about things which trouble them (for example, mother grieves over the death of her unborn child and comes to accept her son's strange experience). The film also talks about involvement and communication within a family, because thanks to Colton's visions, the family is finally able to determine its priorities and unite the way it should.
Heaven Is for Real also talks about social issues such as cultural influence on people, socialization, stigmatization, pressure, and acceptance. For instance, the movie pays a lot of attention to the influence of culture people share while making their decisions and determining their attitudes toward Colton's vision. The movie shows Christian community which has a hard time believing Colton since they do not see logical explanation of his words and at first do not feel moved or convinced by Todd's speech. Thus, as their religious culture dictates a deep knowledge of Christianity, they raise doubts and have difficulties accepting a miracle questioning their religion and the priest at the same time. This issue is directly related to the book material, because in the book, a lot of attention is paid to culture and its influence on people's behaviour. The movie is quite realistic providing believable profiles of people and showing their doubts and insecurities. It also does a good job portraying a Christian community as it is without making it look too perfect or fanatical which is something that can be found in media quite often.
Also, the movie pays a lot of attention to socialization and stereotypes. Thanks to the course material, it is easy to see that the film does a fair job portraying these issues. The family is closely integrated into the community it lives in; the children within it also go through such stages when they actively socialize with their peers who have a big influence on them. As a result, the family has to deal with a new reality with community not accepting it and pressuring family members to stop talking about Colton's experience. Stereotypes in this case play an important role, because people are mistreated based on perceptions others have toward them and the religion they follow. As a result, the family is being stigmatized and outcast to some extend, because other people in the community do not want to believe it and stop accepting the family members viewing them as liars, show-offs, or people who cannot separate the lies from truth. The movie is quite realistic in this case too, because it shows the torn community and reveals the inner problems of its members which eventually lead them to accept the statements of Todd about Colton's experience. The film treats the social issues perfectly showing the real side of human relations and the difficulties which arise during communication. It is also related to the course material giving practical examples of social issues within a religion-influenced community.
I would recommend this movie to other people, especially if they want to learn more about stereotypical beliefs, social interactions, socialization, and acceptance. I would also recommend watching it simply because of its fair portrayal of family issues such as trust and communication. I believe that moviemakers wanted to make a film that gives viewers an honest picture of a family struggling with an unusual occurrence and spreading their ideas to the community. The movie does give a lot of information to the viewers about the topics it focuses on, and it also raises awareness about important issues decreasing the influence of stereotypes on people's perceptions. For instance, the movie shows a Christian family the way it is without adding typical stereotypes about Christians such as fanaticism or intolerance to other religions or minorities. It shows a family with its imperfections that still struggles greatly with many issues despite following a certain religion. It helps to make the family look more human so that te viewers can relate to it and learn a lot of new information about family and social issues while eliminating some of the stereotypes they could have.