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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the family shows coming.
I am grateful to see that there can be some entertaining and inpiring yet wholesome movies out there. I really liked this movie. I gave it 5 stars because what it may have lacked in acting and expensive special effects it makes up for with the teaching of good principles and PG cleanliness. There are many who bash on this because they have a different idea of Mormonism...
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by C. Cade Brenchley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is a Million Times Better
I had made the mistake of reading the book, In the Eye of the Storm by Groberg, before I saw the movie. The movie only showed some of the crazy things that happened to Elder Groberg on his mission. It left out all of the personal and spiritual growth that he went through and how he came to love the gospel and the people more than himself. The movie was nice, but Disney...
Published on June 28 2003 by Katie Bills


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is a Million Times Better, June 28 2003
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
I had made the mistake of reading the book, In the Eye of the Storm by Groberg, before I saw the movie. The movie only showed some of the crazy things that happened to Elder Groberg on his mission. It left out all of the personal and spiritual growth that he went through and how he came to love the gospel and the people more than himself. The movie was nice, but Disney did not want to insult any of their viewers and left out the most important aspects that made John Groberg's experiences so amazing. The movie was ok, but I highly recommend the book to anyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Setting... Story keeps you interested, May 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
This is the story of a young Mormon missionary who goes to Tonga for 2 1/2 years and lives and works with the people on a remote island. It shows him struggling against nature - from mosquitos to hurricanes to storms at sea. These add a lot of drama to the story. He also struggles with himself and his faith and you see him grow and develop from somewhat stiff and self-conscious to warm and open and serving. The story does well to show these struggles without casting him as an idiot who eventually "learns better". It also shows the Tongan natives with respect and warmth. Although their language and culture are different from the young missionary's, they are loving and minister to him as he reaches out to them. The initial resistance from the established minister on the island is resolved with respect as well.
There are a few parts that might have been improved. Does this poor guy really have to wear a tie every day in this tropical location? And when the native men get baptized by him, what does it mean that they are then wearing white dress shirts and ties as well? Is the implication that only Western office attire is "righteous"?
Other than wardrobe, though, the film does seem to show respect for the Tongan natives. It also gives a glimpse of some of the crises they may face. Devastation by hurricanes, being cut off from communication and food supplies, lack of medical services, being exploited by Westerners (who entice some of the young women to leave with them - clearly intending to sell them into prostitution), as well as the seemingly universal problems of alcoholism and family conflict, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the family shows coming., Jan. 18 2004
By 
C. Cade Brenchley "malandro00" (Wendover, Utah United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
I am grateful to see that there can be some entertaining and inpiring yet wholesome movies out there. I really liked this movie. I gave it 5 stars because what it may have lacked in acting and expensive special effects it makes up for with the teaching of good principles and PG cleanliness. There are many who bash on this because they have a different idea of Mormonism and think we have some hidden agenda. I can only ask you to step out of your ignorance on the subject and take an open-minded and open-hearted look at "Mormonism". Having served an honorable LDS mission I can empathize with some of the difficulties faced by Elder Groberg. I have read some negative reviews here saying many things portrayed in the film were unbelievable. I'm here to tell you that while serving a mission one will see the most incredible things ranging from absolutely comical to heart-wrenching to nothing short of miraculous. Go walk a mile in a missionaries shoes before you pass judgement. Great film, keep 'em comin'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful sympathetic tale of missionary living, Dec 23 2003
By 
TOMMY C ELLIS "Prison Rev." (Federal Way, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Other Side of Heaven is a sweet, yet realistic tale of a young missionary sent with few resources to bring his religion to a remote land. He battles natural elements, struggles with being away from his school sweetheart, learns another language without formal training, struggles with other religious leaders who distrust him, and, most hilariously, he wins over a paper-pushing bureaucrat from his own faith tradition. Perhaps the most powerful element of the story is that a barely twenty-year-old caucasion male from Idaho who goes to a foreign land to bring Western religion could be portrayed sympathetically by Hollywood.
I also spent several years overseas doing religious work. Although I am not Mormon, and my experiences were not a dramatic is the young man's in this movie, there were many similarities. It was gratifying to see such a positive and realistic story being brought to the big screen.
Bottom-line: This is a great movie--suitable for viewing by upper-elementary school children and older. It is an excellent conversation piece on many levels: multiculturalism, the validity of mission type projects, and, of course, religion itself. Great stuff!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Titleless Review. Oh yeah,this is a title isn't it., Nov. 17 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
I liked this movie alot. I wish more people would get a change to see it. It is for adults though(some blood and stuff),so I wouldn't recomend(if your an adult)letting your kid see it unless you have already seen it and can convince them to close their eyes during the gross parts. If its even possible not to see this movie because it rocks! I saw it for Family Home Evening (if you are not a Latter Day Saint that is what we do once a week on Mondays or in our case,Sundays when we to church related but fun things)Yestersay and it is my third favorite movie(compared to spirited away and spy kids 3d) it is sad in some parts and scary in lots of parts. Its just one of those movies(Actuallly,the only one I've seen)where what's happening twists and turns and you have absoulutly no idea what will happen next. Plus it has lots of humor and Its really woderful. And if you think your not going to like it,your wrong,because I loved it and I thought it would be boring. As soon as it started,I was hooked. Unlike my second favorite moie spy kids 3D. So umm (insert closey sentence thingy here)!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Visuals, Family Entertainment, July 21 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
There are those who will hate anything and everything about this movie simply because it portrays the central characters,
a Latter-day Saint ("Mormon") missionary, his girlfriend, and the south sea island members of his church the same way any other people of faith would be portrayed in any family film. If you hold those predjudices, nothing as inconsequential as a movie is going to help you grow beyond them. Other people may be put off by some aspects of the storyline, finding it a bit like MAYBURY RFD or PETTICOAT JUNCTION, but one should remember that the story is set in the 1950's, and it remains true to the spirit, if not all of the specific details, of the autobiographical account of a 1950's Idaho boy placed in a south seas island culture, and an island society living much closer to the 1800s than the 2000s, at that. With those two exceptions, most viewers will find that the movie has several tremendous selling-points: Stunning visual images, likeable characters, and a general positive showing of "family values," a.k.a., univerally-accepted virtues such as integrity, determination, compassion, etc. I rate it four stars because, well, it is a comparatively low-budget film, and if they had spent more money they might have been able to afford "Star Wars" special effects, a "Touched by an Angel" soundtrack, and an "Indiana Jones" bounty of props, character-actors, and extras. On the other hand, you and I both know that no big-budget movie company would have ever touched it -- and a very good film would have never been made -- so the fifth star is the price we paid for the four stars we have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A movie about faith, without denominational overtones, May 8 2003
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This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
Sure, this movie is about a Mormon missionary. That fact, for some reason, is enough in-and-of-itself to scare many people away (and I can see why, after watching the abominable movie "God's Army," which stuffs, rams, and forces Mormonism down your throat by trying to make the missionaries seem like just 'one of the guys'). In this film, however, it is not young Elder Groberg's religion which is important--rather it is his selfless service and message of hope and love which make this film what it is. In fact, Disney does a great job of keeping references to Mormonism to a minimum, instead keeping the message one which all Christians should be able to relate to.
Groberg has some interesting experiences in his three years in Tonga--death, disease, natural disasters, and many other events mold not only him but the community at large. He struggles with the language and has both difficulties and triumphs in his work. At times, it seems he must take on the whole world, but each time he meets the challenge head-on with a fierce determination and a courage which are extremely admirable.
Above all, this is a message about faith. It doesn't matter your religion, this movie will move and inspire you if you let it. It doesn't push Mormonism on anyone, and that is perhaps what makes it so powerful. The impact would be the same if the missionary were from any other faith. I cannot praise this movie enough, nor recommend it sufficiently to anyone who wants of be uplifted and enlightened by a courageous story of faith.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Michener, but an interesting story!, April 23 2003
By 
Richard C. Hanson "rhanson111" (Scottsdale, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
"The Other Side of Heaven" is based on the true story of John H. Groberg's experience as a missionary on the South Pacific island of Tonga. The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Gerald Molen, producer of "Schindler's List" and "Jurassic Park," and released by Excel Entertainment, an outlet for Mormon media, and it's rated "PG."
Groberg (Christopher Gorham) was called by the Church for a three-year mission assignment to Tonga when he was a 20-year-old student at Brigham Young University in the 1950's. Before leaving he makes a vague pact with his girlfriend, Jean, (Ann Hathaway). A difficult seven week journey takes him to the South Pacific, where he meets his native Christian assistant and companion, Feki, (Joe Falou), and they finally arrive at the remote island of Niuatoputapu. Groberg has been instructed to do two things: learn the language and build the "kingdom."
Initially treated with scorn by the natives, he sets about to learn the language by reading the bible in English and in Polynesian. After four days he has mastered the language, and begins to win the respect of the natives. From here on, it's a series of incidents, each of which is a sort of independent story: he resuscitates a seriously injured child; sleeping with his feet exposed leads to rats nibbling on the soles of his feet, requiring weeks of treatment to "seal" his feet; a boat trip with two natives nearly drowns them all when the boat is capsized by a storm; a severe storm destroys the island food supply, and everyone nearly starves to death.
The young native women are fascinated with Groberg, and one in particular offers herself---but Groberg is not tempted. He is finally taken to task by the girl's mother for rejecting the daughter, but Groberg explains his moral view and his commitment to his true love in the U.S. His experiences and his feelings are also conveyed through a series of letters to Jean, his fantasies about her, and her letters to him. They ultimately marry, in the movie and in real life, and return many times for mission work in the South Pacific.
There is lavish cinematography of the spectacularly beautiful islands and beaches, as Groberg grows to love both the people and the places. The storm special effects are very well done. It is a thoroughly enjoyable story, made even more interesting by the knowledge that it is basically true.
The movie can be criticized for it's single-minded perspective on the role of the missionary, and there is little insight into the indigenous culture of the natives. But it's very entertaining, and it's staggering to think of the hardships missionaries have endured to bring the benefits of our civilization to these far-flung places (a mixed blessing, some will say). The story is told without proselytizing. Theology and faith are important underlying ingredients but are not emphasized at all. It's pure story telling, with no F words, little or no violence, a love story with no gratuitous sex. I recommend it if you can enjoy an uplifting story, absent those typically R-rated elements.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie but ..., May 21 2003
By 
Matthew (Syracuse, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For the most part I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. At least the first time around. After that I noticed something that I overlooked in the first viewing. The main character is supposed to be John Groberg, but as protagonists go he breaks one of the cardinal rules of storytelling, in that the protagonist is supposed to be the most compelling character. In the scene where the rich man with the yacht is taking girls onboard his ship the Protestant minister, and the LDS Branch President protest, but Elder Groberg stands by and does nothing. I also felt that the cutting between the scene onboard with the ship and the baptismal scene took much away from the power that the baptismal scene could have had. It seemed to me that the makers were a little afraid to show what Mormon culture was like in the islands. LDS filmmakers need to create stories and films of this quility, but not be afraid to show the LDS culture. (But don't go overboard as other LDS filmmakers have.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure love, July 7 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Other Side Of Heaven (DVD)
This is a beautiful movie. This past week I attended a symposium given by Elder John Groberg and his wife. This movie was written about Mr Groberg and his Wife Jean's experience. They are wonderful people. Their love story is truly inspiring. In todays world where love means short throw away relationships, one night stands, and marriages that quickly end in divorce it is really refreshing to see a movie made about a true love story. Their love lasted through his mission and all these 40 or so years that they have been married. Their love is still going strong.
I too have experienced this kind of love. My husband waited for me as I served a mission for the church of Jesus-Christ of Latterday saints. Our love grew stronger every day as I was going through similar experiences. We married shortly after I came home. Now, after children and the events of life we are still happy and in love. True love is saving and can last forever.
My husband also served a 2 year mission for this church. I can tell you it is not easy to leave all of your friends and family for 2 years relying only on letters as communication. We serve missions because we want to share the joy that comes from this truth. There is no deception about it. Why else would we pay our own way, leave our families, and go half a world away for 2 years? The answer is love. We serve missions because we love you. As stated in the beginning God loves his people everywhere. So next time you see a mormon missionary be kind.... they are far from home and are here merely to share joy and the love of God.
I feel compelled to respond to a few of the criticisms of this movie. First of all... to the person who said it was unbelievable that this man would refuse the sexual offer from the islander girl.... I want you to know that Mormon Elders and Sister missionaries all over the world keep themselves chaste. Perhaps as unbelievable as it is in this day and age We as "Good faithful mormons" in our youth save ourselves for marriage and the one true love. Also, to the young man who wanted the relationship worked up for sensational reasons, let me say it is a true story. This young mormon couple had a very simple and pure love. They are chaste and virtuous. This movie was never meant to be titillating entertainment.
Secondly, There has been criticism of the islanders playing Tongans. I do understand that one. However, How many movies are made of French people with really sad American accents trying to sound French. Or Mexicans acting as Spaniards. Since I studied 7 years of French and spent a year and a half in Paris it drives me crazy to hear a fake accent. I guess the best excuse is that it was a low-budget film.
Third, I do think it is rather silly how Disney used Anne Hathaway as the star of the show as if the mission were all about her. However, we can't judge the film just because Disney wanted to use Anne Hathaway for Propaganda. That was Disney's decision.
Fourth, I don't see a problem with the contents. Those things happened to him on his mission. My mission definitely wouldn't be G rated either, nor PG for that matter. I saw a lot of dirty stuff on those city streets.
Lastly, we cannot judge this film by rating it's sensationability. It is a true story. It is not meant to be an action packed SPY Kids movie or Harry Potter.
Mormons are a good beautiful people. Many movies have been recorded of many different faiths. It's about time there is some positive coverage of the LDS people.
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The Other Side Of Heaven
The Other Side Of Heaven by Mitch Davis (DVD - 2004)
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