The main point of "Heaven is for Real" is contained in its title, so you know where you're going with this one before you even buy the ticket. The film is based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose 4-year-old son, Colton, had a near-death experience during emergency surgery and came back talking about a green-eyed Jesus, laughing angels and all sorts of real-world stuff that there's no way he could have known about except if he saw it through some mystical experience (or was coached by his dad, as some cynics might think).

Now I'm no Christian, so the Jesus particulars of young Colton's purported story don't leave me moved one way or another, but near-death experiences are a fairly well-documented phenomenon, and I am a firm believer in the notion that there are things out there that we just can't explain rationally. Which I suppose is a roundabout way of saying I'm halfway sympathetic to the film.

The Norman Rockwell vision of small-town America conjured up by director and co-writer Randall Wallace — best known for scripting "Braveheart" and directing "Secretariat" — comes as no surprise. I've met Wallace and he's a straight-up old-fashioned Southern gentleman, but in a good way; he even gives the film's token secular atheist a fair shake. (Unlike "God's Not Dead".)