It’s always a risk, taking a New York Times bestseller and adapting it for the silver screen. Heaven Is Real documents the near-death experience of a small child, who then recounts with startling detail seeing his sister – lost in a miscarriage – and grandfather, who died 30 years before he was born.

Greg KinnearGreg Kinnear at the 7th Annual Kidstock Music And Art Festival 

It’s an emotive story, and one that was ripe for a movie re-telling, but it would appear as though Randall Wallace (director) and Chris Parker (screenplay, co-written with others) haven’t been able to recreate whatever it was that made the preceding book so popular. 

“The makers of "Heaven Is for Real'' should have had the faith to let audiences decide whether little Colton is telling the truth about his near-death experience without resorting to the digital equivalent of dry ice,” wrote Lou Lumenick of The New York Times.

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Drew Hunt for Slant Magazine denounced the film’s religious slant, which borders on the dismissive. “Heaven Is for Real is by Christians, for Christians, and deliberately, if subtly, antagonistic toward everyone else,” he writes. 

According to Justin Chang of Variety, Wallace is “clearly out to satisfy his target audience while remaining somewhat accessible to those outside it. It’s an admirable impulse that nonetheless leaves you feeling the film has somehow missed its mark, copping out with a mealymouthed, almost relativistic reading of the cosmic conundrum it has presented us with: Your heaven, my heaven, let’s call the whole thing off.”

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And finaly, Heaven is Real is “A supposedly true story that uses faulty logic to reduce the complexity of faith to a fairy-tale. By rights, it should displease atheists and believers alike,” according to Rafer Guzman of Newsday.