90 Minutes in Heaven (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Michael Polish
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 117 minutes

90 Minutes in Heaven (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Acting performances
Bad: Slow pace, straightforward story
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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s almost too good to be true: a man who dies and comes back to life 90 minutes later, claiming he has seen heaven. It’s the true story of what happened to Don Piper in 1989. As you can probably already guess, this story will revolve mainly around faith, hope and belief, as the question remains why God brought him back, and if he will ever have a normal life again. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but since many of the emotions Don and his family go through are universal, we had a go at this one to see if it could enchant us.

90 minutes

90 Minutes in Heaven tells the story of Don Piper (Hayden Christensen) and his family, when they went through probably the darkest period in their lives. In January 1989, Don, who is a Baptist minister, goes to a conference in Texas, where he even talks about starting a new church. Full of ideas, he drives home after the conference, even though it is pouring with rain outside. On the way, he gets hit by a truck, and when the rescue services arrive, he is pronounced dead. While firemen and medics are discussing how best to remove the car and Don’s body, a fellow minister arrives on the scene. He asks if he can pray for Don, and he is allowed to go to the car and do so. The clock has been ticking for one and a half hour since Don was officially dead, when the minister suddenly comes out of the car and screams that he is alive. The medics check and indeed, he is breathing again. They rush him to hospital, while his wife Eva (Kate Bosworth) is informed of what has just happened.

Eva is brought to the hospital immediately, and after what seems like forever, doctors tell her that her husband will survive. Nonetheless, since he lost a significant piece of bone, both in his arm and his leg, he will have to go through painful procedures if he ever wants to walk again. Eva is hopeful, but Don isn’t so much. During the ninety minutes in which he was dead, he claims he saw heaven, and now he more or less blames God for bringing him back to earth, as it is now heaven where he belongs. He makes it very hard for his wife and children, but they don’t give up hope that all will be better.

90 minutes in heaven 1

the film brings one story, but seen both through Don’s eyes as well as his wife’s. It’s definitely eye-opening to see how a family handles a tragedy like this, but the fact that the film never takes a step back, but constantly stays within these two points of view, makes it rather dull to watch. Also, almost all scenes are shot in the hospital since Don can’t move, which is obvious of course, but this combined with the rather slow pace, makes you wonder if the story could have been told a bit quicker than the 117 minutes it lasts.

A big part of the film revolves around God and faith, and for those who believe, it might actually be an inspiring story to watch. Through prayer and hope, Don’s family and friends try to stay strong and be there for him. This is a nice thought of course, but for those who are less religious, the film lacks a good story and flow to keep it truly interesting.

Despite all of the previous remarks, the acting is very decent. It takes a talented actor to play a man who is in pain, both physically as well as mentally, and to actually show the different kinds and levels of pain he is in. Hayden Christensen does a very good job at that, while Kate Bosworth is very convincing as his wife, who tries to keep it all together, while watching everything fall apart.

90 minutes of heaven 2

There are two extras on this DVD release, namely a making of and an interview with the real Piper family. Since the film is based on a real story, written down by Don Piper himself, these extras are quite good to get some more insight into the film and its objective. Even if you didn’t like the film all that much, it is worth watching these, to see what drew the crew to the story and to find out about the real Piper family.


90 Minutes in Heaven is nothing like your average film, as it tells its story quite straightforwardly, without any real ups or downs, and without ever truly getting started. The story is quite meaningful though, for the more religious people among us. Acting performances do make up for it just a bit, and also the extras are worth the watch, if only to understand more about why the movie was created. We were not fully convinced of this one, but this film will probably enchant some people.

All pictures © 2015 Giving Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

All pictures © 2015 Giving Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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90 Minutes in Heaven (DVD) - Movie Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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