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The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith Movie Poster Image
Sentimental biopic about LDS missionary's time in Tonga.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages about patience, generosity, kindness. For families of faith, there's also a strong pro-missionary theme, and the story emphasizes the importance of prayer, answering God's call, and collaboration with others. Secular viewers may disagree with the message that indigenous Polynesians "needed" to be saved/converted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Overall, John is a patient, compassionate, devout Christian. He's a loving husband and father who believes that God has a plan for his/his family's future. Sione starts off as an angry preacher threatened by the rise of LDS members, but he seeks redemption, learns to work with instead of against other believers. Protestants may bristle at how Methodist minister is portrayed, and agnostic/secular viewers may not agree with international missionary work.

Violence

Frightening scenes include death of young man struck by lightning, a storm that looks like it's going to consume a family on a boat, a dangerously ill infant. Methodist minister angrily dismisses LDS converts who leave his church. He orders his son to throw a pig that was given to him by a Mormon convert into the sea -- and to throw the food offering into the fire.

Sex

A married couple dances, embraces, kisses briefly.

Language

Some insults/disparagement, like husband saying his wife loves the dog more than him, or a Methodist minister saying anyone who becomes a Mormon is "dead to him," including his own son.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith is the sequel to 2001's biographical drama The Other Side of Heaven, with Christopher Gorham reprising his role as renowned Mormon missionary Elder John H. Groberg. This movie (like the first, based on Groberg's memoirs) picks up about a decade after the events of the first film, with Groberg a married father of five who feels called to return to Tonga with his family as president of the Tonga-Fiji Mission. The story focuses on the tensions between the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Protestant churchgoers who disagree with and are prejudiced against Mormons. Expect a few frightening scenes, including the death of a young man who is struck by lightning, a storm that looks like it's going to consume a family on a boat, and a dangerously ill infant. But there's no swearing, drinking/drug use, or sexual content. Ultimately this biopic is about Groberg's continued faith and how two fathers from different Christian denominations learn to respect one another.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAndrew Perkes August 10, 2019
Adult Written byTanya Orton August 7, 2019

Motivating, uplifting, laughter, tears, sorrow and suspense and they all lived happily ever after

Our family usually doesn't go to PG-13 movies but when I looked at what this movie was rated PG-13 for action and peril and saw all the other good things t... Continue reading

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What's the story?

THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN 2: FIRE OF FAITH takes place about a decade after the events of The Other Side of Heaven. In the mid-'60s, John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) is a bishop in his Idaho Falls community of the Church of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons). Married to Jean (now played by Natalie Medlock, rather than Anne Hathaway) and the father of five daughters, Groberg is called to accept a role as president of the church's mission to Tonga-Fiji. When they get there, the Grobergs discover that the church is growing. But not everyone is thrilled about the LDS success in evangelizing the local population: Methodist preacher Sione (Ben Baker) is vehemently opposed to Mormons and is particularly hostile when his own son converts. Then tragedy strikes both Sione and John, and eventually the two fathers join each other in prayer and encouragement.

Is it any good?

Families of faith who believe in the power of prayer and spreading their good news to other cultures will appreciate this biopic about a revered leader's mission work in the South Pacific. It's not surprising that Hathaway skipped this quiet sequel, given her career trajectory since the 2001 original was released, but it's good that Gorham reprises his role, which he inhabits effortlessly. As with all faith-based films, it's unlikely that anyone who doesn't belong to a church that emphasizes international mission and ministry will find a point of connection to the story of The Other Side of Heaven 2. But within the genre of Christian movies, it's one of the better ones, thanks to good production values, professional actors, and a memoir-based plot that emphasizes the importance of family and community.

The movie's dramatic tension is twofold. First, there's Baker's Methodist minister, Sione, who considers the LDS church and its missionaries a threat to his own church and congregants. And then there are the tragedies that bind Sione and John as fathers with strong faiths. Other sequences show what changed in the decade in between Groberg's two visits to Polynesia, with some references to characters introduced in the first Other Side of Heaven. While viewers don't need to see the original movie to follow the events of the sequel, it helps to understand Groberg's history as a young missionary there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role models in The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith. Who is a role model? What character strengths do they exhibit?

  • How do John and his family draw on their faith in making decisions? How does faith change the Methodist preacher's views about the Grobergs and LDS?

  • Do viewers need to be Mormon to enjoy the movie? Parents, discuss your family's personal values and beliefs about not only religion but also international missions.

Movie details

For kids who love faith-based films

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