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"The Other Side of Heaven"
Articles and Reviews
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Review Roundup

12 April 2002 - report

We already knew that Larry King, Jack Valenti, and Michael Medved love "The Other Side of Heaven."

Lots of reviews of "The Other Side of Heaven" from around the country were published when the movie was released nationally on 12 April 2002.

The Associated Press reviewer, a critic in Pennsylvania and one in Las Vegas seemed to like it quite a bit. There are multiple reviews from Pennsylvania: 1 of 3 Pennsylvania critics gave quite a favoriable rating to the movie, while the other Pennsylvania critics gave middle-of-the-road reviews.

The other critics around the country... Well, maybe they need to spend more time in Las Vegas or Utah.

In a slew of reviews surveyed nationwide, much of the criticism was not of Mitch Davis' filmmaking, but of the fact that a white person was bringing Christianity to Tongans, which many reviewers said seemed imperialistic.

Looking for silver linings... Nearly every reviewers noted the visual appeal of the movie. Many praised the acting. Not a single reviewer suggested that Latter-day Saints aren't Christians, and nearly all specifically referred to Latter-day Saints as Christians. There was only one or two specifically anti-Mormon comments. (One reviewer said that Groberg's promise to love only Jean Sabin -- just one woman -- was apparently a betrayal of a key tenet of his faith. A web-based reviewer called Mormons the "scariest nice people in the world.")

Multiple reviewers thought John Groberg was too good, too righteous, to sustain a dramatic film. But like I said, the big complaint was the idea of a foreigner bringing a different culture to Tonga. But this was something that most reviewers associated with "white people" or Westerners -- not with Mormons specifically. A few reviewers associated it with general Christian proselytizing. Lots of ink about this. Which, some might say, is a criticism of historical events, and not of the film itself.

But, looking at the actual number/letter scores given by the reviewers... Things don't look as bad. A LOT of the scores are "two-and-one-half stars" (out of 4). In fact, out of the 26 major newspapers in which we found a star-scored review of "Heaven", 14 gave the movie 2 1/2 stars.

(My comments above refer only to the reviews from around the nation that were published this weekend. But I've included URLs, quotes and scores from older reviews below.)

Numerical average of these graded scores: 54.3 (out of 100)
  Average score is 2.2 stars out of 4, or a "C+" freshness score: 25%
  25 reviews counted: 9 positive; 27 negative

[In the table below, the column labeled "RT.c" shows a plus or minus sign, indicating whether the website rated the review mainly positive (+) or negative (-). Reviews with nothing in the "RT.c" column (that is, they have no plus or minus by them, were not catalogued by the website, and are not included in the score.]

SourceReview AuthorRT.cGradeGrade
as #
Bryce's Movie Domain Bryce 4/4 100
Grading the Rod Gustafson + A- 92 Colin Liddle B+ 84
Christian Spotlight on the Movies Ken James 4 stars (out of 5) 78
Christian Science Monitor Lisa Leigh Parney 3/4 75
Kalamazoo Gazette James Sanford + 3/4 75
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams 3/4 75
Winston-Salem Journal Mark Burger 3/4 75
Dove Foundation John Adair 3/4 75
JLB Movies Jonathan L. Bowen 3/4 75 Chris 3/4 75 Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: +1
[scale of -4 to +4]
OOFnet Cinema 6.8 out of 10 68
Associated Press (AP) Sheila Norman-Culp B- 67
Fresno Bee Donald Munro B- 67
DVD Talk Don Houston 3 1/2 (out of 5) 67
Sun Newspapers of Cleveland Gerry Shamray 2 1/2 dollar signs (out of 4) 63
Washington Times Gary Arnold 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey + 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Boston Herald James Verniere 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Daily Southtown (Chicago) 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Minnapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune Jeff Strickler 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Ed Blank 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Austin Chronicle Kimberley Jones 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Chicago Tribune Robert K. Elder - 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Quad-Cities Times Linda Cook 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Salt Lake Tribune Sean P. Means + 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Deseret News Jeff Vice + 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Ogden Standard-Examiner Steve Salles 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Steve Rhodes' Internet Reviews Steve Rhodes - 2 1/2 stars (out of 4) 63
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 6 out of 10 60
Apollo Guide Jon Lap - 59 (out of 100) 59
Utah County Daily Herald / Land of Eric Eric D. Snider - C+ 59
Las Vegas Review-Journal Carol Cling C+ 59
Ke Alaka'i Carrie McKnight C+ 59
Planet Tonga Lisiate Wolfgramm C+ 59
Washington Post Michael O'Sullivan - 3/5 56
Boxoffice Magazine Wade Major + 3/5 56 Nell Minow + 3 checkmarks (out of 5) 56
The Arizona Republic Richard Nilsen 3 stars (out of 5) 56
The Gainesville Daily Register   3 stars (out of 5) 56
Calgary Sun Louis B. Hobson 3 stars (out of 5) 56 Latter-day Saints Forum Pauly Long 3 stars (out of 5) 56
New York Post Lou Lumenick - 2 stars (out of 4) 50
Detroit Free Press John Monaghan 2 stars (out of 4) 50
San Diego Union Tribune Sandi Dolbee 2 stars (out of 4) 50
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Ron Weiskind 2 stars (out of 4) 50
Abilene Reporter-News 2 stars (out of 4) 50
San Francisco Chronicle Edward Guthmann - 2/4 50 Jonathan Taylor 2 stars (out of 4) 50
Entertainment Weekly Chris Willman - C 50
Atlanta Journal-Constitution C 50
Dallas Morning News Al Brumley - C 50
Pacifica Tribune FAIR 50
Orlando Weekly Steve Schneider - 2 1/2 stars (out of 5) 45
Seattle Times Melanie McFarland - 1.5/4 38
St. Paul Pioneer Press Chris Hewitt - 1 1/2 stars (out of 4) 38
Miami Herald Connie Ogle 1 1/2 stars (out of 4) 38 Harvey S. Karten - 1 1/2 stars (out of 4) 38
The Des Moines Register Jeffrey Bruner - 2 stars (out of 5) 34
TV Guide Online Ken Fox - 2 stars (out of 5) 34
Detroit News Michael O'Sullivan - 1 star (out of 4) 25
New Zealand Herald Peter Calder 1 star (out of 4) 25
Reel Movie Shelley Cameron - 1 star (out of 4) 25
Newsday / L.A. Times Jan Stuart - 1 star (out of 4) 25
Cinema Source Capsule Reviews 1 star (out of 4) 25
B. Fatt & Lazy Movie Reviews B. Fatt 1.0 out of 4.0 25 Frank Swietek - D 25
E! Online - D 25
Haro Online Mongoose Pretty Bad 17 Rachel Gordon - 1 star (out of 5) 12
Orlando Sentinel Jay Boyar - 1 star (out of 5) 12

The following reviews were scored positive or negative (+/-) by, but did not include a "grade":
SourceReview AuthorRT.c
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Laura Kelly +
Spirituality & Health Magazine Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat +
New York Times Stephen Holden -
Village Voice Ed Park -
Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt -
New Times Los Angeles Gregory Weinkauf - MaryAnn Johanson -

The following reviews did not have a number or letter rating, nor were they catalogued by the website:
Variety Scott Foundas positive
United Press International (UPI) Steve Sailer positive
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops positive
"Around Town", (Denver TV) Kirk Montgomery positive
Family Filmgoer (nat'l column: L.A. Times, Washington Post, etc.) Jane Horwitz positive
Utah County Journal Ron C. Eggertsen positive
Utah Valley State College College Times Scott Champion positive
Meridian Magazine Karl Bowman positive
Mormon News Blair Larsen positive
Dark Horizons MaoriFett positive
Nitrate Online Gregory Avery mixed
Arizona Daily Star Phil Villareal negative
L.A. Weekly Ron Stringer negative
Baltimore City Paper Adele Marley negative
Kansas City Star Loey Lockerby negative
Orange County Register Craig Outhier negative
The Onion AV Club Nathan Rabin negative

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