In the past, Wallace—as a screenwriter— has presented battles onscreen in films like We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, and Braveheart—the latter of which earned him an Oscar nomination. He also has directed uplifting features such as the horse-racing drama, Secretariat. Here, he seemingly combines the pain of battle (in this case, a spiritual battle rather than a physical one) with the idealism of a movie like Secretariat. When people who have faith in Colton’s story, that faith is renewed. But when people have reasonable doubts about its validity, they find themselves questioning the spiritual ground they stand on.
It’s here that Wallace succeeds in making a feature that can appeal to believers and non-believers alike. The journey to faith is never presented as a clear or an obvious one. There are plenty of obstacles that stand in the way of believing Colton’s story, and Kinnear shows in his character a man who wants to believe but is overwhelmed by doubt and indecision.
Aided by a cast of characters who question Colton themselves (including Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale), Heaven is for Real isn’t as straightforward as its title suggests, and it’s all the better for it.
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