Heaven, according to polls, is a place nearly everyone wants to go to, so why don’t movies ever remotely capture that yearning? We all carry inchoate visions of heaven around in our heads, but we don’t realize how bruising another’s interpretation can be until we see it in celluloid. The most recent attempt—the heaven in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones—looks more like Barbie dropping acid and entering her playhouse. Our (deceased) teenage heroine, Susie Salmon, plays disco dress-up with her heavenly BFF. Platform shoes! Purple glitter! Meanwhile, the topography of her world is, in-explicably, constantly in flux—now it’s forest, now it’s ice. Spend two minutes in Jackson’s interpretation of Susie’s personal heaven and your teeth start to itch. I, for one, would rather be at the mall.
About The Author
Lisa Miller is a contributing editor at New York magazine. She is the former religion columnist for the Washington Post, former senior editor of Newsweek magazine, and author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.” She is a multi-year winner of the New York Newswomen’s Club prize for feature writing and has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award.