I’m a few years late getting around to reading Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent.
I finally moved it to the top of my stack when we were invited to preview the new movie coming out on April 16th based on the book.
Heaven is For Real is the true story of three-year-old Colton Burpo who visited heaven during emergency surgery.
In the months after the surgery, Colton’s parents, Todd and Sonja, were surprised at his comments and insights. He knew both parents’ whereabouts during his surgery. He claimed to have met a sister (a baby his mother miscarried before he was born and who he didn’t know about) and his great-grandfather in heaven where he sat on Jesus’ knee and the angels sang to him.
The book is well-written and engaging. It’s a quick read and I breezed through it in a day or so. The book has its nay-sayers who don’t believe Colton visited heaven. I admit his conviction that people in heaven have wings isn’t in my Bible, but it’s likely that some of his three-year-old misconceptions about the hereafter were translated into his experience.
The movie is well-done. I enjoyed it. It will also have its nay-sayers. The Gospel is watered-down. There’s a lot of talk about God and His love and Jesus is a big part of heaven, but there’s no mention of the narrow path or the price Jesus paid for us to get to heaven. The movie is also different from the book. Most of the changes didn’t bother me, I understand the need for poetic license in adapting a book for the screen. The essence of the book is there: a little boy visited heaven and lived to tell about it.
Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly are excellent as the mom and dad. Connor Corum as Colton is perfectly cast. He captures the winsomeness and innocence of a young boy.
The production values are excellent for a faith-based movie, although the persistence in using an electric blue and yellow/orange color palette grew a bit tiresome.
The ending is very contrived and “Hollywood-ish.” First a drama had to be created where there wasn’t one in the book. Then it had to have the Kum-by-yah resolution. Yawn. There are so many talented storytellers. I refuse to believe that was the best they could come up with.
Overall though, minor quibbles to what is an excellent book and a good movie. Will they win any converts? Not likely. Will the already converted love them? Yep.