Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015) Struggles to Connect

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015) – The back story for 90 Minutes in Heaven is compelling, with plenty of opportunity for drama, anger, angst, grit and joy. Unfortunately, it tends to focus too much on medical trauma and seems to string scenes together with the loosest concept of a meaningful timeline.

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015)

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015)

The story follows the experiences of Don Piper, played by Hayden Christensen. Rev. Piper was in a horrific accident back in the 80’s, and was declared dead on the scene. 90 minutes later, astonished rescue workers discovered he was very much alive after another preacher prayed over his body.

You might guess that the plot then revolves primarily around what he experienced while dead, with a bit about his recovery mixed in for effect. The exact opposite is what the film portrays, however. Most of the film is about his very complex and painful recovery. This could make for a good film if it focused on his inner struggles and those who inspired him to recover. Sadly, there is very little of that, and a lot of Don writhing in pain, being rude to his family and friends and undergoing excruciating medical treatments. Five minutes of that is plenty to paint the picture, but it comprises a large section of the film.

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015)

The really big “miss” in this movie, though, is the lack of meaningful interactions with family and friends, the people who certainly helped him get through his ordeal. We see very small glimpses of these interactions, and most of the scenes with his wife, played by Kate Bosworth, come off as robotic and lacking in love, affection or caring. You really want to feel badly for Don, but you’re not given enough to do so. You also want to feel badly for his wife, but you’re not given enough ammo there either.

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015)

The first two-thirds of this film feel plodding at best. As we work towards the climax, the film suddenly finds itself. The last third of movie moves well, makes sense and makes you want to care. It’s a shame you have to get through so much else to reach that point.

The descriptions of heaven itself are surprisingly short and a very small part of the film, as are what Don does with that newly acquired knowledge. Ultimately, the ending does add a spiritual lift, so the film does achieve its goal, but, as a feature film, you really want a better story than you get. The real story is amazing, the way it’s portrayed in the film is not. If you are a member of its Christian target audience, then you’ll leave feeling good about the message. However, if you are also a fan of films, you’ll be left wondering what might have been with a better script.

Review 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015) Cast and Characters include:

Hayden Christensen – Don Piper (Awake, Jumper, Life as a House, American Heist, Factory Girl, Shattered Glass, The Virgin Suicides)
Kate Bosworth – Eva Piper – (Blue Crush, Superman Returns, 21, Still Alice, Beyond the Sea, Wonderland)
Dick Onerecker – Michael Harding (Halt and Catch Fire, House of Cards, Nashville, Banshee, One Tree Hill)
Anita Onerecker – Cynthia Barrett (Stranger Things, Drop Dead Diva, Insurgent, Halt and Catch Fire)
Mike Ward – Matt Bauman (Cruiser, Sharp Objects)
Barry Wilson – Trevor Allen Martin (The UnMiracle, Hell and Mr. Fudge, Season of Miracles)
Hattie Mann – Sallye McDougald Hooks (Dead Silent, Stan Against Evil, Dirty Grandpa, Constantine, The Vampire Diaries)
Ms. Glenda – Gianna Simone (Mother’s Day, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Cruelty, Hitting the Breaks)
Mary Neil – Rhoda Griffis (Parental Guidance, Walk the Line, The Blind Side, Masterminds, Manhunt: Unabomber, Hidden Figures, Kill the Messenger, Flight, Year One, The Hunger Games)
Susan Long – Ashley Bratcher (Princess Cut, War Room, Extraordinary)
Lawyer Beaumont – Dwight Yoakum (Panic Room, Crank, Slingblade, Goliath, Under the Dome)
Jay B. Perkins – Fred Dalton Thompson (No Way Out, The Hunt for Red October, The Good Wife, Law & Order, Thunderheart)
Therapy Doctor – Gregory Alan Williams (Greenleaf, Manhunt: Unabomber, Powers, Game of Silence, Drop Dead Diva, Secrets and Lies, The District, Preacher’s Kid)

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