My wife and I went to see "Heaven Is For Real" yesterday afternoon. All I can tell you (because I don't want to ruin the movie for others who want to see it but haven't yet) is that it's a wonderful family story, a very touching drama and well worth the time and money.
I have had doubts about near-death experiences. They all seem to be the same - lifting out of the body, seeing the doctors and nurses working hard to save their patient, then moving toward a great white light. People pretty much have the same experience before they return.
This boy, at the age of 4, (played wonderfully by Connor Corum) had a different experience. The things he saw, the things he knew when he woke up, truly were miraculous. Of course, there are those who will attempt to explain them away in some fashion but there will be no explanation that makes sense.
You either believe there is a God or you don't. If you don't believe then this movie probably isn't for you. If you do, whether you believe in near-death experiences or not, you will enjoy this film. It's a story that makes you feel good by the end. And the characters are very believable.
Greg Kinnear, whom I have always liked, plays the father, Todd Burpo, who was torn in different directions by his son's experience. A pastor and a father, he just didn't know what to believe. He wanted to believe his son but the things the boy was saying were nearly impossible to believe. His wife, Sonya, played by Kelly Riley, didn't want to believe her son really saw heaven, until he told her something he had no way of knowing. Together the two parents coped and eventually found peace with their son's story.
Six year old Connor Corum is one of the cutest child actors I have seen in a long time. His portrayal of Colton Burpo as the intelligent, happy and adorable 4 year old is aided by his cherubic, adorable face. Corum will likely have a successful future in Hollywood. Let's hope fame doesn't damage him.
One movie critic writing for "Salon" had this to say about it: "This movie is bizarre, conflicted, unintentionally hilarious and profoundly mediocre..." Based on this and other comments he made I would guess the author is not a believer. So I would not expect him to say anything good about the movie. I will leave it up to you. I thought it was great. See it for yourself - or not. I think you'll be better off if you do but that's just my humble opinion.
Does Jesus reveal Himself to people if they are near death? I believe He does sometimes. My mother saw Jesus the night before she died and we witnessed her side of the conversation with Him. She was always a believer and I have no doubt where she is today.
I saw an interview with the real Colton Burpo recently. He's 14 now and still has full faith that his experience was real. He also says he has no fear of the future because he knows where he's going when he dies. What a wonderful knowledge that is for all of us who believe. And how sad it must be to believe otherwise.