HEAVEN released to all major VOD platforms as well as physical DVD, and Blu-ray on October 5.
Based on Alan Duprey’s highly acclaimed book, “Heaven: The Adventure Begins,” HEAVEN the movie stars Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight, The Expendables), Angus Benfield (NCIS: Los Angeles), Michelle Fouzounmayeh (A Champion Heart), Michael Maclane (The Young and the Restless), Tavarus Weems (Alien Rising), Gina Simms (The Encounter), and Juliet Rusche (Made for Love). Benfield adapted the screenplay and also stepped into the director’s shoes for this film.
The film was created by Bridge & Acorn Entertainment and distributed by Collide Distribution. It did well at several faith-based film festivals, before a held-over 10-week run in theaters.
HEAVEN tells the story of Jonathan Stone (Benfield) a middle-aged paramedic who struggles to find meaning in the midst of his everyday life until he wakes up one day in Heaven and discovers that his life had more meaning than he could have ever imagined. Set between Heaven and Earth, HEAVEN follows the life and afterlife of Jonathan and the lives of those around him, from his past, present, and future.
“The story is very dreamlike,” Benfield shared in press material. “But we wanted to also have a very relatable, real-world feel.”
Some viewers might consider this dreamlike state to be both a pro and con.
HEAVEN begins with Jack waking up in what appears to be a dream—or is it really Heaven? —and then proceeds to jump back and forth between this dreamlike, “Where am I?” state to multiple time periods from his and his wife Elizabeth’s (Michelle Fozounmayeh) life. It addresses several hard moments from their life–including marital struggles, cancer, and abortion—as well as questions on faith, why we face problems in life, and what happens to us after death.
The film had several challenges. Among the seasoned actors, the acting was good, but the secondary characters were lacking. Some of this might be due to the script. It jumped between sounding like a series of mini-sermons to sounding as if the filmmakers were afraid to offend people by addressing the issues. Although Elizabeth’s abortion was a traumatic moment in their lives, the word ‘abortion’ is never mentioned. Even though the dialogue had lots of scripture throughout—sometimes feeling like religious soliloquies—the name of Jesus or the word “Christian” were not mentioned until half-way through the film. Audience members don’t have to worry about missing a spiritual lesson being shared, however; CGI butterflies flitted throughout the scenes.
Ultimately, HEAVEN is the filmmakers’ story to share hope to those who need hope.
Heaven movie: www.heaven.movie
Virgil Films: www.VirgilFilms.com
Collide Distribution: www.collidedistribution.com