So originally my plan for reviewing movies at the Phoenix Film Festival was going to be to pick my favorite each day and review that one. Then Saturday happened, and while Listening was definitely my favorite film that day, I also really liked Seven Hours In Heaven as well. So guess what that means? Yep. I’m reviewing both of them!
Seven Hours In Heaven reminded me of a couple of different films. The first part of the plot is not that unusual, and has been done several times before. A group of couples go on vacation together, or on some kind of retreat, and stuff happens. Sound familiar? If it does, it’s because that’s how Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too both start out. It’s also not unlike how the comedy Grown Ups begins as well. But where Seven Hours In Heaven differs and where it also takes its name from is where the originality shows up. The group of eight people (four couples) ends up deciding to shake up the weekend a bit and get somewhat daring by splitting up for one night. They draw names and go into separate bedrooms… with the couples mixed up and partners NOT in the same bedroom as the partner they came with, but someone else’s partner (of the opposite sex) instead. A takeoff on the teenage game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven”, the plan is to spend the night with someone else, doors closed, no questions asked, no discussions about it later. You can almost instantly see the drama this can (and of course, did) cause.
I loved this concept for Seven Hours In Heaven as soon as it was explained. You could just see this going so many different ways. Would they show any of the seven hours? (They didn’t.) Easy to guess that there would be some faithful and some unfaithful. But who would it be? And how would they find out? Who would be the first to break down and talk about? All stuff you knew would likely happen, but when or who it would be was the big question. That’s what made this movie good to me and why I liked it almost from the beginning. You knew some things would probably happen, but instead of feeling like it was predictable, it made you excited to see how it all played out. At least that’s how I felt.
Films like Seven Hours In Heaven tend to be high up on my list, for the reason of how they delve into the human psyche. One of my favorites from last year’s Phoenix Film Festival was The Trouble With The Truth, for the same reason. I love the exploration of humans and relationships and how we all exist together and the mistakes we make. People are fascinating, and there are some really good movies out there that dig deep into that and confront it head on. Seven Hours In Heaven is one of those films.
The actors in Seven Hours In Heaven were every bit as good as the plot, and they worked well with it. Colleen Hartnett, who wore quite a few different hats while making the film (including both co-producer and one of the lead actresses), was especially excellent as Lisa. I don’t want to give away too much about her character. You definitely just need to see it to see how great she is.
If you are into movies about humans and how we treat each other, and you get the chance to, definitely go see Seven Hours In Heaven. This film takes a great concept and runs with it, giving you a chance to see how far some people are willing to go in their interactions with others. Definitely one of my favorite films at the festival this year.