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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This movie shows the good that missionaries have done in their work on islands in the South Pacific. Lead character preaches abstinence and sobriety, and is shown living what he preaches.
Positive Role Models
The lead character preaches values such as abstinence, sobriety, and charity, and is also shown living these values in his actions and decisions.
Violence & Scariness
Characters die, often on-screen. Lead character's injuries to his feet graphically shown. One of the characters punches another character in the face. Some peril.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Men arrive on the island trading boxes of rum for women who leave with them, prostitution implied. A young woman on the island attempts to seduce the missionary lead character by removing her clothes (no nudity) and suggesting that they go off to "make love." In a later scene, her mother begs the missionary to sleep with her. Faith-based argument for chastity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters abuse alcohol and smoke. One of the characters tells of his abusive alcoholic father who found salvation and sobriety through religion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Other Side of Heaven is a 2001 drama based on the memoir of a young Mormon man who works as a missionary in the Tongan islands in the 1950s. It's a movie that presents faith-based themes and values, and Mormon values in particular. The lead character preaches charity, abstinence, and sobriety, and is also shown living these values through his actions and decisions. There are scenes with some bloody injuries, scary storms, and character deaths. Native girls go off with sailors who offer passage in exchange for sex. One of the young women, attracted to the main character, removes her clothes in front of him and asks that they go off somewhere to "make love." John makes it clear that in his view sex is only for those bound by marriage in a covenant of eternal love. Characters abuse alcohol; talk of how the father of one of the characters was an abusive alcoholic before his conversion. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This gently retro story of a young Morman missionary in the Pacific Islands of Tonga loses some wholesomeness points due to some smug insularity. Through all of his experiences, John never questions his role, so he never really learns or grows. But despite The Other Side of Heaven's superficiality, it's always good to see a movie character who has a strong spiritual and moral commitment that informs his choices. Faith-based families will find much to enjoy and discuss.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.