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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Heaven Is for Real trailer: fantasy? or paranoid thriller?

If we can pull apart the inconsistencies of a fantasy story right in the trailer, I don’t see how it can succeed.

Let’s see: In this “Heaven” place, miscarried babies get to grow up to become, at least, small children. (“In Heaven, this little girl came up to me, she told me she died in your tummy.”) But old men get to revert to young adulthood. Is there a “perfect” age that everybody gets to be? Does everyone get to choose this age, or is it chosen for you? Just how rigorous is the worldbuilding here?! “In Heaven, everybody’s young,” says the kid who visited “Heaven,” but c’mon: to little kids, all adults are “old.” “Pop” should have still looked “old” to the kid.

Hey! Perhaps this isn’t a fantasy but a thriller about how the kid is being manipulated by adults to tell them things they want to hear. I mean, when Greg Kinnear is trying to get the kid to admit he’d seen “Pop” in “Heaven,” he didn’t show the kid an array of old-fashioned black-and-white photos of different young men asked the kid to pick out “Pop.” That would have been a way to ensure that the kid was being honest and not merely trying to please his father. No, instead, Kinnear shows the kid just one photo and a “please oh please say yes” look on his face.

Maybe this will be a really creepy movie. Can’t wait to find out.

US/Canada release date: Apr 16 2014 | UK release date: May 9 2014
official site | IMDb
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movie buzz | trailers
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