Other Side of Heaven Attracts Mixed Reviews
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The major Utah newspapers gave "The Other
Side of Heaven" mixed reviews on Friday, its opening day, with the
Salt Lake Tribune crediting the film with sincerity that overcomes
its shortcomings. But th Deseret News called the film a
"disappointment," and the Provo Daily Herald called it "a decent
film," but not a great one.
The Deseret News' review wasn't all bad. It did say that "The Other
Side of Heaven" is "good looking," especially for its
small-by-hollywood-standards $8 million budget. But reviewer Jeff
Vice also called the film "superficial" and not what it should have
been. He also criticized lead actor Christopher Gorham for "his
too-good-to-be-true portrayal" which "makes the character a bit
bland." Vice gave the move 2 1/2 stars.
In contrast, the Salt Lake Tribune says "The Other Side of Heaven" is
"refreshingly forthright," and adds "it's emotional honesty pulls it
past some of its storytelling shortcomings." Gorham's performance,
according to the Tribune's Sean Means, is one of "unassuming charm."
Means' view added up to 3 1/2 stars.
Oddly enough Vice and Means also disagreed on a technical aspect of
the film. The Deseret News' Vice was impressed with the movie's storm
effects, saying they rival those in the film "The Perfect Storm." But
the Tribune's Means said one computer-generated tidal wave "looks
like a half-finished outtake from 'The Perfect Storm.' "
Meanwhile, a clearer review in the Provo Daily Herald gave the film a
rating similar to the Deseret News, a "C+," but did a better job of
saying why. Reviewer Eric Snider said "The Other Side of Heaven"
"faithfully tells the stories from Groberg's mission as if faithfully
telling the stories from Groberg's mission is all it needs to do."
Snider went on to say the film's plot is "episodic, moving from one
event to another with little sense that any of them are having any
lasting effect, and no sense of building toward something in
particular." He also criticizes Gorham's acting, saying "even when
emotional depth might be called for, Gorham doesn't do it." The
combination, he concludes, doesn't make it a great film, "Nothing
happens, and it happens to flat characters. It is not beyond
enjoyment, but it is so soft and weak-willed that it's not liable to
live in anyone's heart for longer than it takes to watch it."
'Heaven' lacks depth of real story
Deseret News 14Dec01 A2
By Jeff Vice: Deseret News movie critic
Sincere Mission Overcomes a No-Frills Budget in 'The Other Side of Heaven'
Salt Lake Tribune 14Dec01 A2
By Sean P. Means: Salt Lake Tribune
'Other Side' a faithful retelling
Provo UT Daily Herald 14Dec01 A2
By Eric D. Snider