90 Minutes in Heaven
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Based on a true account and The New York Times best-selling book comes the feature film adaption of 90 Minutes in Heaven. During the 90 minutes he is declared dead after a traffic accident, Don Piper experiences love, joy and life like he's never known. But when he finally wakes in the hospital, Heaven's bliss is replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil. With the support of his family and community, Don clings to his faith and fights to recover the life he's lost. Featuring Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, 90 Minutes in Heaven is an emotional and inspiring story of perseverance that will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it.
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This is the story of Don Piper, a pastor in his 30s who had a fatal car crash in rainy weather in 1989. Hayden Christensen would not have been what I’d envision for Don Piper, because of the cadence of his voice, but his acting skill is strong as he plays a character who’s in great pain and vulnerability. Don Piper did not have a near death experience, but an actual death and return to life. Of course there will be skeptics about that, but I think there are enough components to the story which compel one to believe a miracle occurred. He died, but another man on that road felt compelled to pray for him as he lay dead in the vehicle, and his pulse came back. Then, amid an extremely complicated set of surgeries, intense pain, and strain on his family, it became much worse when he could not find his own will to live. This story’s primary conflict is internal, his search for a will to live. His own attitude prevents him from seeing the great gift God gave him by allowing him to experience heaven and return to share about it. He’s just resentful that he can’t be in heaven already, that God brought him back to suffer and have to rely on other people. As he admits to a character played by Fred Thompson, who enters his life shortly after he’s finally ready to submit to God, he thought he was doing everyone a favor by cutting himself off from them, fearing he’d be just a burden. His stubborn refusal to open himself up emotionally to others caring for him mirrors Peter’s refusal to let Jesus wash his feet (John 13). It really surprised me how much Piper almost ruined his closest relationships as he recovered. His listless desire to escape suffering was much more damaging to his loved ones (friends and family) than his neediness/reliance on them.
There is strong dramatic tension in the movie because of how strained his relationships get. It’s not an emotionally draining kind of movie, though, and I felt like I went through the journey with him, instead of just watching him go through it. Through it all, characters keep feeling God’s calling to help him toward renewed faith in God. This is ironic, because his experience of heaven should have strengthened his faith in God all on its own. I love how his discovery of a new purpose, sharing his experience of heaven with the world to give them hope, comes AFTER he has gotten past his attitude problems. In nearly every situation in life, a person’s attitude has to change before the circumstances change: in some mysterious way, we create our own destiny, or God opens up blessings after we have our hearts right, or a combination of the two.
90 Minutes in Heaven spoke to me in a special way that transcended emotional manipulation. I am looking forward to seeing it again.
I am glad the profit goes to charity. I was going to show it to my 7th grade RE class but not much shows heaven. "Heaven is for Real" was better and the students really liked that DVD as did I. For 90 Minutes in Heaven I may show them only the part on heaven rather than the entire movie as if I fast forward to 135 that is when heaven is shown on the DVD, For being in heaven 90 minutes, not much is told about it. It is amazing the man came back to life when the bystander stopped and prayed for him. I believe that bystander might have been a preacher. I read the book a few years ago and the book was like that too, not a whole lot about his memory of heaven. I am reading "Imagine Heaven" now by John Burke, a New York best seller. and it is a very vivid and good book on people who have out of body experiences.
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