From Academy Award®-winning* director Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line) comes this acclaimed film about success and failure in the grave business of animal interment. "Memorable, moving and poignant" (Channel 4 Film), Gate... more »s of Heaven is "so rich and thought-provoking it stays in your mind for tantalizing days" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). When financial hardship forces California's Foothill Pet Cemetery to close its pearly gates, its dearly departedloved ones are relocated to the nearby Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park. During this tense transition, filmmaker Morris meets a collection of eccentric cemetery operators and anguished animal-lovers and elicits a meditation on love and loneliness that's "strange, chilling [and] appallingly funny" (Newsweek). *2003: Documentary Feature, Fog of War (with Michael Williams)« less
"You don't know me. I'm not given to hyberbole. But, Ebert's right about this film: There's not a better American film. And it IS a thoroughly American film. It's about business, money, pets, love, success, failure. It's all here. I'm grabbing this and taking it with me when the spaceships come. (They're due in September.)"
Human nature on film
timmy | Indiana | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's what is amazing about Gates of Heaven: Two completely different people could watch it and both enjoy it from different perspectives. For one, this could be a heartwarming, courageous tale about dedicated pet-owners and their struggle to build pet cemeteries. For another, this could be simply a hilarious look at human nature and its peculiar quirks and tendencies. Errol Morris knew he was getting more than information about pet cemeteries when filming Gates of Heaven; he was capturing real, sincere moments by people possessing all kinds of characteristics. Sadness, cynicism, laughter, envy, and the unflinching love for pets is present throughout Gates of Heaven. This film isn't really a documentary about pet cemeteries at all. Rather, it is about human beings, the passions we have, and how we achieve them in this life. Near the end of the film as I watched a young hippie cemetery owner playing his guitar up in the hills, I realized how far this film was reaching for, and how successful it was in reaching it. From the jealousy of a man towards his younger, more successful brother, to the hilarious (and somewhat sad) monologue by a lonely old woman, Gates of Heaven ultimately shows that no matter what people strive to achieve, whether it be pet cemeteries or President of the United States, it's their heart and souls that will remain timeless."
ALMOST DIDN'T BELIEVE THIS WAS A DOCUMENTARY
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 03/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chanced upon this DVD by accident, and thought it was a movie. Turned out to be a documentary about two pet cemeteries, and drab as that may sound, it is a brilliant film that reaches far beyond the scope that its description would have you expect. The cinematic production values are top notch, not a simple tryst with a camcorder (which usually serves the purpose for most documentaries) but colors that pop off the screen. The chats with pet owners are moving and poignant. Don't look for something obvious to blow you away. Just watch it, embrace it, and feel it. And then you will wonder at it. It is immensely thought provoking. Highly recommend watching this marvel if you can get your hands on it."
The film is more about human beings, rather than pets.
Dhaval Vyas | Dallastown, PA U.S.A | 05/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Gates of Heaven' is a film by Errol Morris that deals with an ambitious pet cemetery in California. What makes this documentary so facinating has nothing to do with the actual animals, but rather the people who love and care for them. As the film progresses, one will realize it is actually a study of human nature and psychology. With the central focus of giving pets a secure resting place, the film incredibly shows human frailty, ambition, and sadness.
For those who have never had pets, this film can be hard to relate to. My family has never owned any pets, but I've had friends who have had pets. They are very attached to the pets, and the pets are like family memebers. One has to watch this movie with an open heart, or they will never understand the feelings of the people in this documentary. To some of these people, a pet is more of a friend than a human being will ever be, and there is some real truth behind that.
People might get different interpertations of what Morris is trying to show here. To me, 'Gates of Heaven' uses the pet cemetary business as a backdrop to show a much deeper aspects of human nature."
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 03/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I chanced upon this DVD by accident, and thought it was a movie. Turned out to be a documentary about two pet cemeteries, and I was nearly disappointed. But it is a brilliant film, and don't let that descriptor fool you, it reaches far beyond this in its scope. The cinematic production values are top notch, not a simple tryst with a camcorder (which usually serves the purpose for most documentaries). The chats with pet owners are moving and poignant. Don't look for something obvious to blow you away. Just watch it, embrace it, and feel it. And then you will wonder at it. It is immensely thought provoking. Highly recommend watching this marvel if you can get your hands on it."