Sunrise in Heaven reveals faith in the face of death


Photo by Kat Parra (screenshot)

Sunrise in Heaven depicts the romance between Jan (Caylee Cowan) and Steve (Travis Burns).

With the world still in quarantine, binge-watching films is a highly beloved method to pass time. With everything on the news, perhaps a few tears wouldn’t hurt. This month, Netfl ix released a film inspired by the true story written in the novel “His Sunrise, My Sunset” by Jan Hurst. Undoubtedly, the film is a tearjerker.

Directed by Waymon Boone, Sunrise in Heaven tells a story of faith in the eyes of tragedy. Multiple scenes contain prayer and the overall message is quite beautifully depicted. Jan (played at different ages by Caylee Cowan and Bonnie Burroughs), a faithful young girl and daughter of a strict, overly protective militant father, is pursued by Steve Hurst (played at different ages by Travis Burns and Randy Crowder), an Air Force man. With the disapproval of her father, Jane and Steve marry and aim to keep their love true and alive.

At this point, the storyline seems a bit overused, however, this one is based on a true story, which makes it all the more worth the watch, especially for the ending. Although the film is unequivocally religious, it is a heartfelt drama and it channels how relationships transition and form over the decades.

While the film unleashes the key components to a romance as forbidden as theirs, there is an ongoing message throughout the film: have faith, whether it is in God or in love. In a way, any viewer can develop faith in whatever they believe in, not necessarily in what is stated in the film.

Unfortunately, this film takes a turn when Steve is left on life support after a devastating car crash. Hold on to that tissue box. With the presence of death near, the film takes the audience through flashbacks to the start of their romance and the early days on how they fell in love.

It is almost similar to the storyline of The Notebook. Regardless of clichés, a good, familiar fi lm featuring love and tears might be per- fect during this time.

Further, into the film, it is the significant events both lovers have overcome that allow Jan to remain strong and heal during this process. With beautifully fi lmed scenes, the audience enters Jan’s past as she recalls her memories. Just as in the novel, the film touches on the essence of belief. It focuses on the love for God and her will- ingness to retain her faith de- spite the circumstances she had to face.

Faith that all will be well is what many of us need, especially in a time like right now. One may not understand what has happened or what will happen, but we can have faith that everything will be alright.

The film teaches the viewers that any obstacle or challenge can be defeated with the power of love. It, more importantly, underlines the complex issues that arise such as the continuation or discontinuation of life support or even what to do when faced with an undermining, overprotective parent.

This film will test both your faith and your morality. Above all, the film echoes that anyone can fight for whatever they believe in. Sometimes there are things that are out of our control and we can only rely on a higher force to get us through it.

Despite it being a tear-jerker, this film is worth the watch, especially now that we have the time to devote ourselves to sweets, tissues and the comfort of our own couch.