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The Other Side of Heaven

244 customer reviews

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(Apr 01, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Walt Disney Home Entertainment presents THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN, a thrilling and epic adventure starring Anne Hathaway (THE PRINCESS DIARIES) and Christopher Gorham (TV's FELICITY). When 19-year-old John Groberg (Gorham) is sent on a three-year mission to Tonga, he has no idea what he's getting into. Just getting to Tonga is fraught with danger and unbelievable obstacles. Once there, he finds himself in the midst of a culture as remote to him as the island is to his Idaho Falls home. Not understanding the language, and lonely for his fiancee Jean (Hathaway), John faces suspicion, distrust, typhoons, tidal waves, mosquitoes, and other perils of man and nature as he reaches out to the people of Tonga. Filled with adventure, breathtaking scenery, and humor, THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN is a coming-of-age film your whole family will enjoy.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Gorham, Anne Hathaway, Joe Folau, Miriama Smith, Whetu Fala
  • Directors: Mitch Davis
  • Writers: Mitch Davis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008CMSU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,680 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Other Side of Heaven" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By jmellor on February 15, 2005
Format: DVD
I loved this movie!!! My father is Tongan and my mother is Samoan (the first island Elder Groberg landed at the beginning of his journey). Even though I was born and raised here in the US, I have been exposed to my Polynesian roots and love and embrace both cultures of who I am (Polynesian side and American side).

I have to say that my family and I LOVED this movie. It is refreshing to watch a beautiful movie without all the sex, violence and vulgar material that permeates our society today. This movie is about True Love on so many levels - the love between Elder Groberg and his future bride Jean, the love between the Tongan people and Elder Groberg and the love between Our Lord and his children. No, I'm not Mormon, I'm actually an Assembly of God Christian, however that does not overshadow my appreciation for this movie.

The depiction of the people of Tonga is accurate. They are a lighthearted and loving group of people who love to laugh and find joy in the simple things of life. They are all about respect and honoring one's family. The scene of the first funeral brought back memories for me as it illustrated exactly how these kind people handle the departing of a loved one. When my dear Grandmother Siu passed away in 1994, my family and I traveled back to Vava'u (an island within the Kingdom of Tonga) to lay her to rest. The unmasked grief and crying as depicted in the movie was exactly how my grandmother's funeral was. The crying and grieving took place for 1 full day (24 hours - day and night) while different groups of people from all the villages on the island, came to pay their last respects.

Hats off to Disney for going out on a limb to bring the story of one young man's journey of faith and trials and tribulations of his mission to the big screen! Well done!
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97 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Bauer on April 13, 2002
... Had I known [this movie] was about a Morman missionary in Tonga I probably would never had gone. Well, somebody up there likes me. I am glad I went.
It was a beautiful story but realistic also. Having spent 3 years myself in the mission field in another culture (Alaskan native peoples) I could relate. The film had everything from humor like when the young elder gives his first speech in the language of the people. He confuses the word "Lighthouse" with "Outhouse." The audience both on screen and in the theatre laughed long and loud for that one. Serious moments too like when he prays for the child thought dead - exciting moments on the sea, hurricane, and ordinary times of prayer, fasting, and feasting. Ann Hathaway does a good job as the girl who is left back home - the faithful letter writer of 3 years. I would liked to have seen more of her in the story. The people who played the native islanders were excellent and darn near stole the show. But then it wasn't really a show to be stolen. Just a good story, that's what! However, I rest my promotion and am not ready to convert to the LDS but I did learn more about their courage and love for all of God's people. I respect that and I respect this more than adequate, gentle, and fine telling of a real young man's story.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2002
This is (part of) the story of one 20 year old Mormon boy's experiences while on his mission to Tonga in 1954. It is an adventure story with an emphasis on faith and personal relationships.
It may be difficult for anyone without faith to understand why John Groberg, or any other young person, would go on a mission, but if you can suspend your skepticism, you will be rewarded. The missionary came across as a little nerdy, but you can't help but cheer for his successes and pity his failures as he deals with homesickness and culture shock while trying to learn Tongan and preach.
The scenery and musical score are beautiful, and you can almost feel the humidity and bugs that go with a tropical paradise. What I found most appealing of all were the Tongans themselves. I don't know if the actors are professionals or locals or local professionals, but they gave the movie its heart.
I found the movie/story so compelling that I went out and bought the book and the CD and look forward to someday visiting that part of the world.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Drex Olympus on January 6, 2002
Working off a *very* modest budget of $7 million for a nearly two-hour film, it's no wonder there are parts of this movie where there was a definite lack of funding. The camera shots in one scene could have been better pulled off by a teenager with a camcorder, and some of the waves in the storm scene look like they're in a pool.
On the other hand, though, this movie wasn't meant to be a technological marvel.
This movie tells the missionary story of John H. Groberg, a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in far-away Tonga, without knowing a lick of the language. Given only two goals (learn the language and build the kingdom), John faces many obstacles. Language barriers, a stubborn minister, storms, death, and rats. On top of all that, his girlfriend in the States, Jean, is staving off suitors, anxiously awaiting John's return 3 years hence.
I really liked The Other Side of Heaven. It wasn't too preachy, but it conveyed great emotions in many of its scenes. There were a few cheesy scenes and some cliche sections, but overall the humor was clever, the plot enjoyable (and easy to follow), and emotion touching. A great movie that I hope many will be able to see.
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