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The Other Side of Heaven (2001)

John Groberg, a farm kid from Idaho Falls, crosses an ocean to become a missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan islands during the 1950s.

Director:

Mitch Davis

Writers:

Mitch Davis, John H. Groberg (book)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Gorham ... John Groberg
Anne Hathaway ... Jean Sabin
Joe Folau ... Feki (as Joseph Folau)
Nathaniel Lees ... Kelepi
Miriama Smith ... Lavania
Alvin Fitisemanu Alvin Fitisemanu ... Tomasi
Peter Sa'ena-Brown ... Kuli
Whetu Fala ... Asi
Apii McKinley Apii McKinley ... Noli
Paki Cherrington Paki Cherrington ... Minister (as Te Paki Cherrington)
Jeremy Birchall Jeremy Birchall ... Edward
Ross Duncan Ross Duncan ... John's Father
Maggie Harper Maggie Harper ... John's Mother
Rick Leckinger ... Photographer
Brian Richards Brian Richards ... Crowd Member #1
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Storyline

John H. Groberg, a middle class kid from Idaho Falls, crosses the Pacific to become a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan island kingdom during the 1950's. He leaves behind a loving family and the true love of his life, Jean. Through letters and musings across the miles, John shares his humbling and sometimes hilarious adventures with "the girl back home", and her letters buoy up his spirits in difficult times. John must struggle to overcome language barriers, physical hardship and deep-rooted suspicion to earn the trust and love of the Tongan people he has come to serve. Throughout his adventure-filled three years on the islands, he discovers friends and wisdom in the most unlikely places. John H. Groberg's Tongan odyssey will change his life forever. Written by Mary Jane Jones

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A True Story. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and brief disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Tonga

Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eye of the Storm See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,765, 16 December 2001

Gross USA:

$4,720,371

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,760,014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John H. Groberg really did isolate himself to study the Bible for four days in order to improve his Tongan. In reality, he studied in the bush instead of on the beach. See more »

Goofs

When John Groberg is talking to his girlfriend, Jean, about the moon, he says that the light traveled 93 million miles to reach her, but that is actually the distance from the Sun. Of course, the light originated from the Sun not the moon, so he is correct. See more »

Quotes

Feki: It is enough I remember you offered it to me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spirit of the Game (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lone Ranger
Courtesy of Golden Books Family Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Real contributions
9 September 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Normally LDS subject films like The Other Side Of Heaven are usually produced in Salt Lake City by Mormons. But this film, the true life adventure of a missionary in the South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga was done by the Disney Studios. That being said it is perfectly within the Disney parameters of family entertainment.

John Groberg as played here by Christopher Gorham is a kid who likes his faith with a little rock and roll in the Eisenhower Fifties. He plays a mean trumpet and is awaiting his mission assignment. It turns out to be the exotic south seas certainly with enough temptation that few can withstand. Still it's something if not required, expected of him to do his two year bit before he marries Anne Hathaway.

Stories about Mormon Missionaries and I've reviewed a few of them now have one common thread, it's the culture shock. No matter whether it's Tonga, Tenafly or Buffalo these kids leave a cocoon like existence in their Mormon communities to go out into the big world to do their thing. That's what films like God's Army, The Best Two Years and this film have in common.

The Pacific Islands have always held special interest for the LDS church. They have charge of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Honolulu and I give the church credit for helping to preserve the Polynesian Culture of several peoples.

Young Gorham doesn't preach and baptize, he makes real contributions to the daily lives of this remote region. With disease and tidal waves to battle among other things, the Magic Kingdom did a great job with the special effects in The Other Side Of Heaven.

Anne Hathaway does appear in the film, but it's her voice in the letters they exchange that is her real contribution. In fact it was touching to see these two young people, deeply in love speaking their letters in voice over. In this age of electronic mail, a film like this showing the romance and poetry between Gorham and Hathaway is a depiction of a sadly bygone age.

Disney Studios recognized that this film would have a wider appeal than just among Mormons and it does. It's a fine family film, but LDS audiences will appreciate it most of all.


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