Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young man from Idaho finds himself in a beautiful but dangerous land in the South Pacific as he follows his faith and tries to spread it to others in this adventure-drama, based on a true story. In 1953, John Groberg (Christopher Gorham) is a 19-year-old student at Brigham Young University, whose greatest adventure in life had been to leave home to go to school in Utah. That all changes when Groberg accepts a missionary assignment in the Tonga Islands near Fiji; Groberg is instructed to "build a kingdom" and educate the natives about the Mormon faith, even though he knows little of their customs and nothing of their language. Leaving behind his sweetheart, Jean Sabin (Anne Hathaway), Groberg arrives in Tonga and is quickly immersed in the native culture, and strives to teach the Tongans about the teachings of the Latter-Day Saints while trying to respect their cultural traditions and face the joys and struggles of primitive life in the South Pacific alongside them. Groberg makes a valuable ally in Feki (Joe Folau), a Tongan who becomes an avid follower of the Mormon faith, but he also finds his loyalty to Jean (with whom he's been maintaining a long-distance relationship through cards and letters) tested when a native girl makes her attraction to him quite clear. Based on the real John Groberg's memoir In the Eye of the Storm, The Other Side of Heaven was produced by Jerry Molen, Academy Award winning producer of Schindler's List and Jurassic Park; it also marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Mitch Davis.
correspondence, culture-shock, girlfriend, hurricane, island-tropical, long-distance, missionary, native, service, shipwreck, traveling