Parents' Guide to

90 Minutes in Heaven

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Faith-based drama about life after returning from afterlife.

Movie PG-13 2015 121 minutes
90 Minutes in Heaven Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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While the story is engaging, the filmmaking feels disjointed. Don, depressed and without a will to live, seems to be at death's door as he stubbornly refuses to breathe deeply despite the demands of his doctor and his caring wife. 90 Minutes in Heaven is presented as a dramatic point in the action that could lead to his death. In fact, soon after that, he's diagnosed with double pneumonia, a seeming death sentence. As the audience hangs on what may come next, neither the breathing nor the pneumonia are ever mentioned again, and his health seems to improve. Similarly, his good friend David visits in the hospital and says he'll organize prayer to heal Don. We see people pray, and that's the end of that plotline. David shows up briefly at the story's end to hear Don speak of heaven for the first time, and he promptly disappears mid-scene. A sleazy attorney pops in and out of the action as Eva struggles to pay the bills, but this too provides no useful narrative payoff. Early in the action, Don mentions that a recent traffic ticket for not wearing his seat belt changed his habit and that would be "a crucial decision," a seemingly deliberate foreshadowing that is never mentioned again.

The movie has two touching moments: when his daughter coaxes him out of his wheelchair to "dance" with her at her party, and when finally upright on crutches, he spies a young man in a wheelchair at church, wearing the same painful bone-stretching device that saved Don's leg. Don tells him that he understands the young man's pain, suggesting that helping others overcome obstacles is Don's new purpose in life.

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