CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Hayden Christensen shines in "90 Minutes in Heaven"

With the start of couch potato season (that is, the opening of college and professional football, U.S. Open Tennis, and baseball pennant runs), the motion picture industry has become more strategic about releasing films in September. Nineteen years ago Paramount Pictures found box office gold by releasing The First Wives Club as a counter to non-stop programs of televised sports.

Last week, War Room ended Straight Outta Compton’s August box office domination. Produced for a mere $3 million, War Room has grossed over $39 million, creating a comfortable profit margin. War Room is a faith-based movie about the power of prayer healing a family’s domestic woes.

With little fanfare beyond some cheesy television commercials, 90 Minutes from Heaven opened last weekend. This film is a quiet, thought provoking piece of Christian cinema.

In 1989, Pastor Don Piper (Hayden Christensen) gets into a car accident and is pronounced dead for 90 minutes. Despite the dire situation, another preacher demands he be allowed to pray with the corpse. When he sings What a friend I have in Jesus, Pastor Don Piper is revived.

Enter Don’s wife Eva (Kate Bosworth). Besides being the pastor’s wife, she is also a school teacher with three children. With the support of the family, the community and the medical staff, Eva holds down the house as her husband makes a painful recovery.

90 Minutes in Heaven is a simple drama. Deliberately slow-paced at times, the film accurately presents how medical recovery can be a depressing experience. Eva Piper, Kate Bosworth, absorbs the brunt of the pain and only reveals her vulnerable character when she is alone, away from her children and friends. Considering the bad rap he has endured for his role as “Young Darth Vader” in the Star Wars prequels, Hayden Christensen enjoys career redemption with this film.

Before the screenings of War Room and 90 Minutes in Heaven began, there was a series of interesting trailers about other upcoming faith-based motion pictures, including Captive starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Kate Mara, and Woodlawn, starring Sean Astin and Jon Voight, as the legendary Alabama Crimson Tide coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Woodlawn should spark local interest because it features the story of Young Tony Nathan, former Miami Dolphin utility player under Don Shula.
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