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MOVIE REVIEWS: HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

April 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Variously described as “simply a sermon” (Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News) to “an afternoon special” (Jessica Herndon, Associated Press) to “an illustrated religious pamphlet” (Liam Lacey, Toronto Globe and Mail), Heaven Is for Real is commanding respectful if not adulatory reviews. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post, praises the performance of Greg Kennear as a pastor whose son declares that he visited heaven while undergoing treatment for a burst appendix, particularly criticizes the film’s glimpse of heaven featuring Jesus and angels as “laughably cheesy.” Those images of heaven rankle several critics, including David Lewis in the San Francisco Chronicle, who also uses the word “cheesy” to describe it. In fact, he writes, “the images of heaven somehow diminish the impact of the boy’s experience, perhaps because heaven is just too profound for anyone to film.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times calls the movie “one of the better faith-based films to come along.” However, she adds, “what the movie could use is a little more faith — in the power of its message and the art of filmmaking.”