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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.25%
Average: 10%
Pretty Bad: 1.25%
Total Crap: 1.25%

1 review, 74 user ratings

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Other Side of Heaven, The
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by EricDSnider

"Wait! I wasn't even done with THIS side of heaven yet!"
3 stars

"The Other Side of Heaven" is an account of Mormon general authority John H. Groberg's missionary experiences in Tonga in the 1950s, based on his book, "In the Eye of the Storm." It is mildly uplifting and reasonably enjoyable, but lacks the emotional or spiritual power that, say, one of Elder Groberg's sermons might have.

Adapted and directed by Mitch Davis, "Heaven" faithfully tells the stories from Groberg's mission as if faithfully telling the stories from Groberg's mission is all it needs to do. It starts with the beginning of his mission, ends with his homecoming, and in between is full of healings, baptisms and South Pacific islander shenanigans -- but no sense of purpose. Groberg (played here by Christopher Gorham) does not appear to change or grow over the course of it. He is friendly and righteous and rather non-descript to begin with, and he's that way at the end, too.

The blame for the lack of dynamics is shared between Davis the writer/director and Gorham the actor. The script is episodic, moving from one event to another with little sense that any of them are having any lasting effect, and no sense of building toward something in particular, plot-wise. There's very little adversity that isn't overcome quickly and easily; the closest thing the movie has to a "villain" is a bureaucratic mission president -- and he immediately apologizes for it.

Even when emotional depth might be called for, Gorham doesn't do it. Sure, he cries a couple times, and Groberg does some amazing act-of-faith kind of stuff. But Gorham's attitude throughout is so blandly go-with-the-flow -- almost cavalier -- that we wind up liking him, but not knowing him.

To his credit, Davis has control of his craft in terms of making things look good. No amateur (despite this being his first feature film), Davis makes good use of beautiful locales, has an able cast of actors, and doesn't let the pace slow down too much. A couple storm sequences are very exciting. This all makes it a decent film, if not a great one.

To be interesting or memorable, movies must be driven by plot or character. Either we like the stuff that's happening, or we like the people it's happening to. The best movies do both. "The Other Side of Heaven" does neither. Nothing happens, and it happens to flat characters. It is not beyond enjoyment, but it is so soft and weak-willed that it's not liable to live in anyone's heart for longer than it takes to watch it.

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originally posted: 12/13/01 10:54:06
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User Comments

4/15/07 Claudia Higginson I loved it! 5 stars
6/01/05 jo Very well done. Loved the dancing at the begining 5 stars
9/17/03 Greg Schlosser I thought the movie was excellent. Though I'm surprised eric snider didn't comment on it. 5 stars
5/31/03 James Completely lacking in any kind of depth, character development, or climax. Snoozer. 1 stars
4/14/03 Erin This was a great film that gave action to the book!!! 4 stars
6/29/02 Anne This is a great movie. 5 stars
5/24/02 Choen Pooi The movie is tight. Finally they come out with a movie about our people 5 stars
5/24/02 Larry Ronnow interesting - Miriama is a star of the future 3 stars
5/22/02 harkman the part where a dad sang abide with me when he thought his son would die was touching 5 stars
5/13/02 Mimi Great! Can't wait to buy the video! 5 stars
5/12/02 Dan Riley Wonderful and very uplifting. Finally!!! 5 stars
4/28/02 drew taylor it was awesome! I loved it! 5 stars
4/28/02 Dolly B Finally everyone can enjoy without gatuitous sex or violence. Uplifting! 5 stars
4/26/02 wayne b One of the best I've seen this year. 5 stars
4/26/02 mike guinn it was a very inspiring movie 5 stars
4/26/02 Marian I loved it 5 stars
4/25/02 M Salcedo Wonderful, inspiring, uplifting, moving, a must see 5 stars
4/25/02 Jim decent, but too episodic; could have been much better 4 stars
4/25/02 Sharon Walker It was nice to come away from a movie so uplifted. 5 stars
4/25/02 Doug Bayless I really enjoyed this film. John Groberg's mission memoir on film. 5 stars
4/23/02 Clayton Fuller Great film! Saw it twice. A good adaptation of the book to cinema (not always easy) 5 stars
4/23/02 Patricia Hoffman Finally a really interesting film that says something worthwhile. 5 stars
4/23/02 Dinna It was fabulous 5 stars
4/23/02 Rachel Shepardson I loved the movie it was great! Chris's acting was the best that I have every seen him! 5 stars
4/23/02 Chris I enjoyed it. Although I think Snider's review is fair. He makes some good points. 5 stars
4/23/02 Jared I was surprised at the quality of the film. I was expecting a much more "low budget" feel. 4 stars
4/22/02 Ben Robinson Great Flick 5 stars
4/22/02 Warren Rosner A very enjoyable and uplifting film! 5 stars
4/22/02 Brant Wright Very Uplifting Film. Lot of new lessons learned. Can't wait to serve a mission !!!!! 5 stars
4/22/02 Sterling Brodniak Wonderfully made! Just a feel 'good movie' that anyone can watch. 5 stars
4/21/02 dan wonderful 5 stars
4/20/02 Victoria Laney Beautifu scenery and thrilling plot. 5 stars
4/20/02 Dee Stevens I agreen about E. Groberg seeming the same, but his true story is very engaging, 4 stars
4/19/02 Thelma Gunter In a world where the morals of the masses need help, Mitch Davis turns a bright light on. 5 stars
4/19/02 Dwayne Whitmore Enjoyed it very much, Very Uplifting and positive story 5 stars
4/18/02 S. Brian Awesome, but the critics will never believe good people still exist 5 stars
4/18/02 G. Smith Inspirational and welcome family entertainment 4 stars
4/17/02 christina bates it was incredible, especially when you consider that it is a completely true story. 5 stars
4/17/02 Ben Franklin Excellent Film 5 stars
4/16/02 Joe C. This movie sure stuck with me longer than the time it took to watch it. Refreshing. 5 stars
4/16/02 Roy Sounder Great, uplifting family entertainment 5 stars
4/16/02 Robert Hales Very enjoyable! 5 stars
4/16/02 David This film wasted my money. It had very little value and I feel ripped off ... and I'm LDS! 2 stars
4/16/02 Angela a great adventure story that really happened! 5 stars
4/15/02 Paul Scovel Touched my Spirit! 5 stars
4/15/02 Travis Brinton "God's Army" had deep characters whose faith develops; "Other Side" has more action/visuals 4 stars
4/15/02 kristin Loved the movie... but going there.. is far better 4 stars
4/15/02 LynnKay Brown An uplifting film, something refreshing, for a change 5 stars
4/15/02 Eric inspiring, funny at times 4 stars
4/14/02 mea Bravo !!!!!!!! The reviewer writing in the section above doesn't do the film justice. 5 stars
4/14/02 Marc A. Excellent! Go see it. Inspiration and feeling at it's best! 5 stars
4/14/02 Guinevere ^HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FILM^ this is a wonderful film. I give it 2 thumbs up. 5 stars
4/14/02 Stephen This film was more than I expected. I give it 2 thumbs UP! 5 stars
4/14/02 katie demers i havent seen it but i know it is gonna be good!! 5 stars
4/13/02 Carole Redford wonderful. The character goes through a great spiritual enlightenment. 5 stars
4/10/02 Koko Aiolupotea This is a great film. I would recommend it very highly 5 stars
3/28/02 Outahere FANTASTIC MOVIE - see it more than once. 5 stars
3/28/02 M. Thatcher big on heart, short on character development 4 stars
3/27/02 Chris żĄ It's another Religous film worth looking at, a story of profound character and love. 4 stars
3/13/02 Music Mama Beautiful!!! - The scenery, acting, and the music! 5 stars
3/10/02 anon great movie 5 stars
3/08/02 Kyle It was great--a feel good flic 5 stars
2/16/02 Rodney Crook A very good movie. May have had to serve a mission or had a child on one to love this movie 5 stars
2/15/02 Nathan Henderson A refreshingly great film. A great lesson in what makes people truly happy 5 stars
2/12/02 Film Lover Great movie, there truely does need to be more film like this one! 5 stars
2/06/02 Erin I liked it! 4 stars
1/22/02 clark Not as powerful as it has potential to be, but still very enjoyable and uplifting. 4 stars
1/06/02 Corrinn Aune I thought this movie was really tender. 5 stars
12/31/01 Chris Deaver This film was spectacular. Anyone that says otherwise has missed the mark. 5 stars
12/29/01 Jordan Shows triumph of spirit. Wholesome. Very uplifting. Not enough movies like it. 5 stars
12/28/01 Stephen Hays Russell Thoroughly enjoyed this wholesome movie. Uplifting; spectacular scenery. Want it on DVD! 4 stars
12/27/01 Jimmy AWESOME 5 stars
12/20/01 Janet Fonoimoana I read the book and the book is much better than the movie. However, I still enjoyed it. 3 stars
12/19/01 Kim Brown Do not agree with his take on this. It is uplifting and worth the time to see. 5 stars
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  14-Dec-2001 (PG)



Directed by
  Mitch Davis

Written by
  Mitch Davis

  Christopher Gorham
  Anne Hathaway
  Joe Folau
  Miriama Smith
  John Sumner
  Paki Cherrington

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