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Posted 21 Dec 2001   For week ended December 21, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 17Dec01
By Kent Larsen
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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


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