Children of Heaven
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: +2

This award winning film from Iran very beautifully tells a simple, sweet story through the childrens expressive faces that subtitles are almost unnecessary. Nine-year-old Ali (Mir Farrokh Hashemian) lives with his poor parents and seven-year-old sister, Zahra (Bahare Seddiqi), in a poor section of Tehran. Ali and Zahra must help with errands and household chores. Soon after Ali picks up Zahras only pair of shoes from the cobbler, he loses them. Now Zahra has no shoes for school and both children know there is no money for new ones. So their parents wont find out, Ali tells Zahra she can wear his sneakers to her school in the morning, then hurry home so he can wear them to his afternoon classes. But almost every day Zahra is late coming home and Ali gets in trouble for his tardiness. When the boys coach announces tryouts for a city-wide foot race, Ali reads that the third place prize is a pair of sneakers. Meanwhile, Zahra sees a little girl at school wearing her lost shoes. These beautiful children, the magnificent Iranian countryside and an uplifting story make CHILDREN OF HEAVEN a wonderful movie experience for adults and children ten and older.

It is so refreshing to see a family movie where the children care for each other and respect their parents. The children keep their secret of the lost shoes because they dont want to cause the family any more grief. Zahra faces humiliation because of the tattered, poor fitting sneakers she has to wear, and her longing for new shoes is almost unbearable. Still, she never tattles on her brother. Zahra and Alis mother and father both love their children, and are very devout Muslims who express trust in God in spite of their dire circumstances. On a bicycle ride into the city to find gardening work, Ali and his dad suffer some cuts and bruises when they crash because their old bikes brakes go out. At that point, the father says the s-word, the films only obscenity. At other times, three mild crudities are spoken. This authentic portrayal of mid-eastern culture will fascinate youngsters and may generate a few questions, which makes CHILDREN OF HEAVEN a learning experience for all of us. Why cant we produce more decent touching movies like this in America? Dont let the subtitles keep you away.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

Crude Language: Few (3) timesMild
Obscene Language: Once (s-word)
Profanity: None
Violence: OnceModerate (father and son fall off bike)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Devout Muslim family with strong family values; children respectful
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Families with children 10 and older

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