Starring Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Connor Corum, Thomas Haden Church; directed by Randall Wallace, PG for intense medical situation; 109 minutes; B-
"Heaven is for Real" is based on the true story of a 4-year-old Nebraska boy who after major surgery tells his father - a local minister - that he's been to heaven. Although there are immediate doubts, people begin to accept the story when the youngster reveals information he only could have been given by those who died before he was born.
His tale is inspirational for some and draws the wrath of others, who call it all a fabrication. That becomes a major source of tension in the film. This story is fodder for countless debates. What should not be overlooked is the strong story of how a family must - along with this big event - deal with the normal hardships of life.
Director Randall Wallace shows that the strength of a movie comes from a focus on family. Wallace has created a movie that has a message that goes beyond preaching to the choir. That's when the work is at its best.
Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee