Making the Grades
After the unexpected death of her Grandfather (Edward Herrmann), Riley Taylor (Kirstin Dorn) has a lot of questions. While her Grandmother (Joanna Cassidy) is eager to answer them with stories of heaven and angels, her mother Julie (Charisma Carpenter) smothers these hopeful explanations by pronouncing such ideas as just wishful thinking.
Her grandfather’s passing leaves the young teen without anyone to confide in as well. Previously, his moral support had been a great help in dealing with everything from soccer practice to the emotional toll of her parent’s pending divorce. Now Riley feels very alone as she faces an uncertain future.
Then the unexpected happens. While climbing a pine tree in search of a rogue soccer ball, the girl stumbles upon a door that opens to a heavenly dimension. Along with the comfort this discovery brings, the youngster receives the ability to heal others. Unfortunately, when Riley begins to use her gift, she stirs up more controversy—especially between her believing Grandmother and her doubting Mom.
Full of good intentions, Heaven’s Door appears to want to shed light on the possibility of miracles, the importance of faith and some hope in the hereafter. It also tries to show the nobility of sacrificing in order to help others. Sadly, not blessed with strong writing, good pacing or standout performances, the production falls short of its mark. Yet forgiving audiences will still be able to find plenty of feel-good sentiment in this movie—even if its fairytale-like approach offers few answers to life’s real questions.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Heaven’s Door.
When Riley is given the gift of healing, she is temped to share it with everyone. Why is she unable to do so? What consequences does she face after she helps someone? In real life, why do you think some people receive miracles like healings, while others do not? What trails and blessing might come from suffering? What purpose do you think facing challenges serves?
Why does the death of Riley’s Grandfather affect her Grandmother and Mother so differently? What life lessons do you think can come from losing a loved one?