I am the first person to admit to being a skeptic when it comes to movies and books about heavenly revelations. I have been heard to say – “if God wanted us to know what heaven looked like, I’m pretty sure Jesus would have shared that when He was here.”
I have heard some press about this movie, with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah – it definitely had my attention. Based on a true story, the movie follows the sickness and investigative treatments of Anna Beam and her mother’s, Christy Beam, crisis of faith in the midst of it. And now that my eyes have dried having watched it, and my suspicions quieted – I’m happy to share my impressions of it.
The movie begins with a of a very normal family living life. They live on a farm in Texas, where Dad is expanding his vet practice. The Beams and their 3 daughters love each other, pray in their home and attend a very refreshingly normal church. Although, I’ve gotta say – it would be pretty fantastic having Mac Powell lead your Worship Team!
An evening bout of stomach sickness for Anna begins a long and exhausting journey of questions and desperation as she is misdiagnosed over and over again. When a doctor finally realizes the true cause – an incurable disease of the intestines that prevent the digestive system from functioning at all – Christy takes measures to have her treated at all costs.
She and Anna head to Boston to insist and wait on an appointment with the country’s top specialist. While waiting, Christy and Anna meet Angela, a caring and very friendly waitress who becomes their tour guide around Boston. When the call for the appointment finally comes, Dr. Nurko believes he can treat Anna. What seems quite insignificant, yet touching – is an interaction with Dr. Nurko’s Elmo tie. He admits that his wife doesn’t like it, but that he’s promised to remove it when he has a patient get well.
During her stay in the hospital, we see Anna make an impact on a roommate, while not getting any better. When she if finally stabilized, she and the family head home. She heads out to play with her sisters, and becomes involved in a very serious accident on the farm.
It is after her recovery from this that Christy begins to learn just how present miracles and the God who still performs them are. Anna tells her story and encounter in heaven- and this is where my skeptical expectations stopped.
So many heaven movies try to share all the details of what heaven looks like, who the person met, and the message for mankind that God had for them to take back. I’ve never been convinced. Yet, in this account, Anna says that she and God were able to talk without ever seeing each other, and that He promised her she’d be okay when she went back. She doesn’t meet any people from her past or have details that no one can ever verify. Just a little girl who was assured of her safety by the God she knows loves her.
I found the most touching moment was the last time we encounter Dr. Nurko. Christy shares her story poignantly in church and the reminds us of all the places during the journey with Anna where they saw miracles happen.
I was impressed. This is a high quality Christian movie – so refreshing in the Christian film movie world – and I am pleased to be able to fully recommend this as a family movie.
Movie link has been provided courtesy of Sony Pictures and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.