After reading the book on which this film was based, I was excited to see what this adaptation would be like. I was not disappointed, as director Randall Wallace tells a story that doesn't go over-the-top, yet still manages to capture the wondrous story of Colton Burpo and his family.
For a basic plot summary (in case you haven't read the book!), "Heaven Is For Real" recounts the experiences of young Colton Burpo (Connor Corum), who has a near-death experience and claims to have see Heaven, Jesus, and many other experiences that a boy his age should not have known about relating to passed-away relatives and such. Father Todd (Greg Kinnear) and mother Sonja (Kelly Reilly) don't know what to think: are these experiences real, or did they come from the adrenaline-fueled memories of a preachers son?
Basically, if you enjoyed the book, I can't see why you wouldn't enjoy this film as well. It is well- acted, filled with emotion, and touches on the same emotional issues that the book delved into. Besides feeling a bit rushed in the end, "Heaven Is For Real" didn't leave me feeling like I was missing any key pieces of the story.
Of course, whether or not you believe in God and/or the Burpo's story is central to the emotional components of the film. I believe, and thus it perhaps has a more profound impact on me. I'm not without my doubts, but after reading the book and watching the movie I can't see why this would all just be "made up". But that's a bit off topic for this review. Regardless, one can criticize the subject matter if they wish, but I don't think the adaption/presentation deserves any of that criticism.
The bottom line? The story of the Burpo family is quite interesting no matter which way you look at it. It poses one of the great "what if" questions of the universe: what if you could prove that heaven exists? Would it change the way you lived your life? This film does an excellent job of posing those questions while also telling a tale of family, love, and friendship in the process.