Better than the book, which I read and reviewed in 2003. The movie had a plot (several); the book was a set of investigations by then-atheist Lee Strobel into the truth behind Christianity. The book rests almost entirely on assertions from authority; the movie explores experience, feelings and motivation.
“You didn’t want to see [the truth].”
For what was obviously a low-budget film, Case was well-plotted and well-acted. The sub-plots add credibility and depth to Strobel’s search.
I was surprised. I don’t much care for sports or sports movies, but Woodlawn catapults the viewer into early 1970s Birmingham, Alabama, “the most segregated town in America.” Though focused on Woodlawn High’s running sensation Tony Nathan, It’s about a lot more than high school football. “Based on a true story” of how the adults and youth of that city dealt with forced racial integration. There are good and bad guys on both sides.
Incredibly entertaining as well as pointedly positive. So much of the action follows the actual events that verifying the plot should be easy.
Occasionally Hollywood gets it right: “it” being a Christian movie. Not that Heaven is for Real is perfect, but it follows the book well and where it diverges it improves–by condensing and focusing. Not a big-budget blockbuster, but a solid, well-told story. Greg Kinnear, as Colton’s father Todd Burpo, is the only big name.
This “based on a true story” film about a child’s near-death experience, captures the emotion, the uncertainty, and the growing wonder of the book well. It doesn’t have easy answers and, in fact, when it dramatizes young Colton Burpo’s reports of heaven is where it goes farthest astray. A respectful, is necessarily compact, exploration of the other people’s reactions–both positive and negative–to Colton’s reported experience.
Connor Corum‘s portrayal of four-year-old Colton is nothing short of amazing, and worth the price of admission.
Quibbles: I doubt that many blacks lived in western Nebraska. Hispanics, yes. Sonja Burpo (played by Kelly Reilly) was just a bit too sexy. Why did they have to film it in Manitoba?