Movie Review: “90 Minutes in Heaven” Is Stirring, Faithful to Book

Image: Samuel Goldwyn Films Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen in '90 Minutes in Heaven'
Image: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen in ’90 Minutes in Heaven’

Some movies simply give away the subject matter in the movie title (“Titanic”), while others (say, “Bella” or “War Room”) leave you guessing as to why the film is named that.

But occasionally there is a movie that carries an attention-grabbing title that makes you think you know all about the film, when in reality you don’t. Such is the case with “90 Minutes In Heaven,” a faith-based movie that opens in theaters Friday and is based on The New York Times bestselling book by Don Piper, which sold 6 million copies, and recounts his claims of visiting the gates of heaven.

Sure, “90 Minutes In Heaven” is about heaven, but it’s not only about heaven. In fact, if you’re wanting to get a lengthy visual peak of what heaven may be like, you will be disappointed. That’s because the producers – wisely, I think – opted to keep the heaven imagery to a minimum, choosing instead to focus most of the movie on Piper’s gut-wrenching recovery from a major car wreck.

Piper’s book has become controversial of late, with a major Christian bookstore (LifeWay) opting to pull his and other “heaven-visitation” books, and a few well-known bloggers questioning his claim that he actually visited heaven.

I don’t know if Piper visited heaven, but I do know that “90 Minutes In Heaven” is an extremely good movie with plenty of material to inspire and encourage, no matter where you land on the heaven visitation scale. At the same time, it’s a film that is faithful to the book and will leave readers pleased. (The book, like the movie, also puts much of the emphasis on his recovery.)

If you’re not familiar with Piper’s story, here’s a brief primer: In January of 1989, an 18-wheeler crushed him and his car on a bridge in Alabama, breaking multiple bones and also stopping his heart. Emergency responders declared him dead, and it was during this time that Piper says he visited heaven.

Amazingly, a pastor passing through the area by the name of Dick Onarecker stopped and prayed over Piper’s body, and he began breathing again. That alone is a potent example of the power of prayer.

Piper was alive, but his battle was just beginning. In total, he was in the hospital for 13 months while undergoing 34 major operations. At first he didn’t want to live – he later said his afterlife experience made him want to leave this world – but eventually changed his mind following some frank advice from a friend and the prayers of hundreds of people.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Christian Post
Michael Foust

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