‘Heaven is for Real’ brings book to life

5417_4044Cary Crocker

Heaven is for Real, although not completely true to the book, exceeded my expectations. An infinitely enjoyable first reading three years ago, inspiring me with the story of an average little boy’s trip to heaven, did not give me high expectations for the movie for so many reasons. However, I enjoyed the movie immensely and would definitely recommend it.

Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly star in this movie as Todd and Sonja Burpo, whose four-year-old son, Colton (Connor Corum) claims to have made a trip to heaven while in surgery. Based on a true story from a book of the same name, the Burpos don’t know what to think about Colton’s claims. Released earlier this year, Heaven is for Real has a PG rating for thematic material including some medical situations.

Even though the doctors said he didn’t die on the operating table, his appendix had burst and he almost died. He claims to have seen Jesus, the angels, dead family members, his mom calling people for prayer in the waiting room and his dad in another room yelling at God.

My first knowledge of the making of this movie made me wonder how it would turn out. In the book and in real life, details of Colton’s trip to heaven came out little bits at a time; it didn’t all come at once. Because of the format difference, the producers added some conflict in the family and with the church to keep the audience’s interest, which made it not so true-to-life.

Despite some added material not from the book or real events, the filmmakers did a good job with making the major incidents factual. The scenes in heaven showed a lot of imagination and color, although real-life Colton said that he remembers the real heaven as so much more beautiful. Overall, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a family-friendly movie with an inspiring message.