This movie brings in great actors; Hayden Christensen (Star Wars Episode 3) and Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns) to portray the Piper family. The movie is able to convince you that you are not looking at Anakin Skywalker and Lois Lane, but instead, looking at a caring pastor and his wife.
The directors did a great job in scene selection; everything looks and feels real and flows together smoothly. From the moment he is hit to the moment he leaves the hospital, each scene is filled with passion and true acting.
A question that was racing through my mind (and what may be in everyone else’s mind) is: “How do the producers portray heaven?” To put it simply, you’d be surprised. Heaven does, indeed, have the pearly gates and they do look brighter than you’d expect. But an interesting touch was added; to greet the dead pastor is a group of people, all who died earlier but made an impact in his life.
Piper said “Seeing people who had not known each other on earth but now know each other in heaven astounded me.” He also gave an analysis on a few key people whom he saw.
The filmmakers excel at creating a certain atmosphere that the viewer cannot escape. Piper’s experiences throughout the movie effectively inspire many emotions and will make the viewer feel for what the Piper family is going through. Hayden Christensen brings life to his character, even though he is on a hospital bed for 95% of the film.
The opening scenes are action packed; you see the car crash, introduction of characters, and the flashes of light one would assume is heaven… But the action slows after all that. Following the first scenes all you see is crying, moving from hospitals, and random faces and flashes of light. The movie does not begin to explain what is happening until Don Piper finds out he needs new medical technology in order to save his leg.
This section is confusing; however, the second half fully makes up for it. The title in itself is a bit misleading if you did not read Pastor Piper’s book “90 Minutes in Heaven,” as the concept of heaven is only in two small parts of the movie, and for the first heavenly scene… it is just random flashes with different faces. The next part is at the end of the movie when Don finally reveals that he went to heaven. Only until Piper is given a small smack with reality does this movie finally bring back its momentum. The turning point occurs with the introduction of a teenage girl, Kristie, who relates to Don Piper in an unusual way. It is unfortunate that Kristie does not return or even get mentioned after Piper leaves the hospital; one could argue, she is a very important character who is given little screen time.
Real life impact
Pastor Don Piper, himself, gives a message at the end of the movie. His message tells how he truly believes he was in heaven and got to see things that he had not dreamed to see. Pastor Piper said, his eyes were opened after he left the hospital, and as if a gift from God, he was shown people going through the same torture and pain he went through.
Piper continues travelling around the world to preach the gospel and share the Glory of God. He has since left his dream of starting his own church, but instead started “Don Piper Ministries” which is one of the largest international ministries!
Piper believes he was being watched over by God Himself. As it states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (NLT). It is easy to tell that God truly did fulfill his promise to Don Piper.
This movie is a must see for anyone who is looking for inspiration, a good family movie or even just to talk about at the water cooler at work. You will not find a better cast for this type of film and will not find a better movie that will make you want to leap for joy and praise God.
90 Minutes in Heaven, a New York Best Seller, has joined many other books to hit the big screen. In “90 Minutes in Heaven” viewers see Piper die, come back and battle recovery. Eva Piper, Don Piper’s wife, struggles to keep their marriage in tact as Don Piper becomes more and more anti-life. “90 Minutes in Heaven” releases September 11 and is rated PG-13.
Geoffrey Still is an intern with Good News, student editor of Calvary Christian Academy’s SOAR.ccaeagles.org and founder of the “Crusader Corner” at Coral Springs Christian Academy.