Based on the true story, “Heaven is for Real” is the accounting of Colton Burpon, who at age 4, had a near death experience that left him changed and with memories of life after death in heaven.
Colton is the son of Todd Burbos, a well-respected and admired community pastor, who is always at the aid of anyone who needs help. When Colton suffers from a ruptured appendicitis, Todd begins to question his own faith and whether or not it’s a situation he can mend. Colton survives his near fatal ordeal, but upon leaving surgery, already begins to share his experiences of being in another plane of reality. He tells his father that he went to heaven, even though he did not die; he claims that Jesus was the first to greet him, and that he was safe and would never be hurt there. He also goes on to say to say that Jesus has a horse of many colors, and that everyone is young in heaven.
Even though Todd is a pastor that preaches every Sunday about the things his son says he experienced, he struggles with what to believe and how he should handle the situation. He tries to investigate near-death experiences and further evaluate his son’s experience. Todd asks Colton what Jesus looks like, using drawings of Jesus in picture books and bibles, to which Colton responds “he has blueish-green eyes.” whereas none of the images Colton were shown had these features.
As Todd struggles to understand Colton’s stories, the Burpos family also faces financial burden, the dwindling support of the church community surrounding the attention that Colton is bringing, which puts Todd’s job as a pastor at stake. As the film progresses, so to does the leap of faith in the hearts of many as more people begin to believe in Colton’s stories, stories he couldn’t know otherwise. He tells Todd about his grandfather “pop” whom he never met since he died when Todd was 7 years old. Colton also tells his mother that he met his other sister, whom was never named as she was a miscarried child prior to Colton and his older sister Cassie, and described her as “looking like Cassie but with brown hair like mom.” As Todd’s faith in his son’s truth strengthens, so does his ability to inspire hope back into the community and renew it’s faith in the messages they hear every Sunday.
This film is excellent for any and all kinds of audiences whether you are devout in your beliefs or perhaps don’t even know what you believe in. “Heaven is For Real” has something for everyone, from light-hearted humor to heart string-pulling moments; it leaves nothing to be desired, except for perhaps the desire to learn more about who we are as individuals and what we do with the time we have on this earth.