The Five People You Meet in Heaven
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Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn, Jeff Daniels. Eddie is an 83-year-old war vet working as a maintenance man in an amusement park. When he dies while saving a young girl in harm's way from a falling ride, he enters the afterlife and meets five people who will explain the meaning of his life. 2004/color/133 min/NR/fullscreen.
Based on the bestseller by Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie), The Five People You Meet in Heaven takes up where Its A Wonderful Life left off. In the Capra classic, George Bailey gets a vision of life without him. In this Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Eddie (Jon Voight), an amusement park maintenance man and war veteran, ends up in Heaven after an accident takes his life. There he meets five people from his past: the Blue Man (Jeff Richards), the Captain (Michael Imperioli), Marguerite (Dagmara Dominczyk), Ruby (Ellen Burstyn), and Tala (Nicaela and Shelbie Weigel). Each shows him how he impacted their life or they his--and not always for the better. (In these flashbacks, Callahan Brebner and Steven Grayhm play the young Eddie.) The point may seem simplistic--everyone is connected--but The Five People You Meet in Heaven finds a unique and engaging way to make it. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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A critical, abusive, alcoholic father. The nightmares--and a physical wound--courtesy of war. Infertility. A beloved wife struck down with a neurological disease. Evaporating dreams of being an engineer, replaced with a life-long job as a theme park maintenance man.
Eddie feels like a loser. He was a nobody-his alcoholic father made sure of that. Working at the theme park Ruby's Pier, like his father before him, is how Eddie died and went to heaven.
Author Mitch Albom wrote the script for the made-for-TV movie The Five People You Meet In Heaven, which is based on his bestselling book. The theme of this story is that no life is a waste, no matter how seemingly insignificant-and that there are no random acts, because all are connected.
The profound but simple truths in this poignant story by Albom reflect the themes that all is one, there are no random acts, and that peace, learning and growth face us on the Other Side.
On a sunny day at Ruby's Pier, a cable system breaks down on an amusement ride, and Eddie, played by veteran actor Jon Voight, tries to save a girl from death. He feels small hands in his as he tries to pull her to safety.
"When Eddie died, he felt no pain. He experienced calm-as if every pain he experienced on Earth was washed away."
In heaven, Eddie is first met by a man who used to be a part of Ruby Pier's freak show-a man tinted blue by a chemical tincture he drank as a child. The man of blue (brilliantly played by Jeff Daniels) tells Eddie that he will meet five people in heaven, and each will share things which will be a lesson for Eddie. The part that the Blue Man played in Eddie's life was unknown until Eddie arrives in heaven: as a small boy, Eddie was playing ball in the street, and the Blue Man, driving down the same street, swerved to miss him. The Blue Man ended up dying of a heart attack, and Eddie was unaware of his part in the story.
When the Blue Man shared what happen, Eddie felt badly-that the accident wasn't fair, and that it should have been him that died. The blue man replies: "There is no fair in life and death. If it were, no good men would die young." Eddie assumes that he will now pay for his "sin" and be judged. The Blue Man dismisses this idea, almost with amusement: "No, no, no.", he says, shaking his head. In heaven, there is no judgment, but rather an opportunity to examine our lives-who we touched, the choices we made, and the consequences of those choices.
Eddie is then visited by four more people, in their own unique heaven. Forgiveness is another theme of the story, and the character of Ruby tells Eddie: "Hatred is a curved blade. The harm we do to others is harm we do to ourselves...no one is born with anger. It builds up over time, with the things we don't say and the things we bury. When we die, the soul is freed of it-free to see the truth."
The process that Eddie goes through when he dies is consistent with the case studies featured in the books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton. No angry God awaits us at the gates of death, but instead, we are met with kind, loving guides and souls-eventually being ushered into a personally designed `curriculum' for our soul's growth and edification. When Eddie meets his former military captain in his personal heaven the captain says to him: "Time isn't what you think it is, kid. Neither is dying." Also consistent with between-life regression case histories is the ability for souls to change shape (like Eddie's wife did when he asked her to become "old" again), as well as the ability to "choose" your heaven.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a story of redemption and personal meaning, as Eddie finally realizes that everything- even difficulties, disappointments, and deaths-happen for a reason. We're also reminded that "all endings are beginnings. We just don't know it at the time..."
Throughout the story, Eddie calls himself a loser, feeling that he did not accomplish anything with his life (like going to engineering school as he planned). He felt alone, and without anything to show for his life. However, at the end of meeting the five people from his life on the Other Side, Eddie is shown the results of his everyday, "mundane" work as an amusement park maintenance man: a sea of people of every age, race, and walk of life that were kept safe over the years by his diligence:
"All the accidents he prevented, all the people he kept safe-their children, and their children's children-are because of the things he did day after day."
The human search for a sense of meaning and purpose to life is a deep one. Perhaps the first thoughts of the first human were "Who am I? Why am I here?" We're still asking these questions--and desperately looking for the answer.
Living in an increasingly complex and stressful era, it's tempting to think that the mundane is meaningless and that life is a random crapshoot. I was deeply moved by this story, reminded that no interpersonal interaction is by chance, and that every cruel, painful, or disappointing situation serves a higher purpose that will someday be explained. The Five People You Meet In Heaven shows that, truly, no life is a "waste", and no life is insignificant. My story is a part of your story, because all of us are connected in the web of life.
I expected this movie to be sappy and maudlin and in a way it was, but it was so well done I was quite moved by it. Eddie's trip to Heaven is much like Scrooge's in "A Christmas Carol," but instead of three ghostly guides, Eddie is met by five people who touched his life or who were affected by his and who ease his transition to the great beyond. It's a fantasy world with frightening war scenes and innocent love scenes, and while I watched I couldn't help but think of my own life, quite ordinary like Eddie's, but who knows how many I have affected for better or worse?
I tear up easily at sad movies, but this time I went far beyond sobbing; I wailed the whole time. The movie really got to me. We're all going to find out what death is like someday and I'm more than curious. Also, as I've aged and lost dear ones, I long to see them again. This is a thought-provoking, tender tale that really touched my heart.
Without going through a long story, I first rented this movie from Blockbuster...somehow it was free....the clerk didn't understand it, neither did I. Not sure what happened. Watched it that night and cried from beginning to end.
The next day I bought the book. Somehow, the book turned out to be free too. It was part of a buy 2 get the 3rd free that I did not know about, the books were not labeled. Anyway Five People You Meet in Heaven was the lowest cost (12.00.....12.95, & 12.99 were the other 2). I feel like it was meant for me to read this book and watch the movie.
Both are excellent, but the movie shows some things that really hit me. My husband, Dave used to juggle 3 balls for our daughter which is what Eddie did in his younger years. Also when Eddie dies and they show his watch, it gave me goosebumps. Someone found my husband's watch at the accident scene, broken, only one band. I keep it with me wherever I go and sleep with it under my pillow. I know it crazy, but that's what I do and that scene made me think about Dave's watch.
I have bought many copies of this movie and given it to friends. Everyone loved this movie. It's such a great way to help with the grieving process and the healing process. It makes you feel like your loved one is still around watching over you, waiting for you.
I'm so glad my husband got me to watch it. I will be sure to save a copy for my daughter to watch and keep later on when she is older. [...]
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