Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Other Side of Heaven

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Mild references to prostitution, attempted seduction, strong argument for chastity
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters abuse alcohol and smoke
Violence/Scariness:Several scenes of peril, characters die
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2001

This gently retro story of a young Morman missionary in the Pacific Islands of Tonga loses some wholesomeness points due to some smug insularity.

It takes John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) 83 days to get to the tiny Tongan island where he will be stationed for two years, following his graduation from Brigham Young University. His only link with home is the monthly mail delivery, and the letters he writes to the girl he hopes to marry (“The Princess Diaries'” Anne Hathaway) provide the narration.

John faces challenges from the culture and setting. The local minister (a Tongan Christian) tells the natives not to deal with him, and even sends some to rough him up. A typhoon wipes out all of the island’s crops and homes. he is caught in a storm at sea. Those darn natives keep wanting to not follow the rules he has come to teach him. And the church criticizes him for not doing his paperwork. Through all of this John is unfailingly wise, patient, and obedient. He cures an injured child with prayer and pre-CPR first aid. He resists a native beauty who offers him sex without commitment. He even proves himself to the rival minister, who not only apologizes but sacrifices himself so that John can survive. Through all of this, John never questions his role, so he never really learns or grows.

Parents should know that the movie has some bloody injuries, scary storms, and character deaths. Native girls go off with sailors who offer passage in exchange for sex. Characters abuse alcohol. John makes it clear that in his view sex is only for those bound by marriage in a covenant of eternal love. Despite the superficiality, it is always good to see a movie character who has a strong spiritual and moral commitment that informs his choices.

Families who see this movie should talk about how we find a balance between respect for the cultures and religions of others and knowing our own moral and spiritual centers. They may also want to talk about the way John and his family draw on their faith in making their decisions.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Christy: Amazing Grace. And they might want to see South Pacific, another story that takes place in Tonga, and one that frankly addresses the issues of racial and cultural diversity.



Previous Posts

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.