Jeff talks his friend Natalie into letting him stay with her while her father is away.
Seven Minutes in Heaven is about fifteen-year-old teens who have been friends for a long time, are dealing with family problems and just beginning to understand their emotional feelings and sexual drives. Natalie Becker (Jennifer Connelly) is devoted to political causes and still dealing with the loss of her mother who died of leukemia. It doesn’t help that her father is away from home a lot, but she would prefer to be there alone rather than stay with her aunt. Polly Franklin (Maddie Corman) is her best friend, but much less successful in attracting boys, and tends to be jealous of Natalie’s personal life. Jeff Moran (Byron Thames) is estranged from his stepfather Gerry Jones (Marshall Bell), who constantly berates him about his responsibilities. When the two have a fight, Gerry tells Jeff he can’t get his learner’s permit and his mom (Polly Draper) tells the coach to drop him off of the football team due to troubles at home. These actions cause Jeff to leave home and camp out on Natalie’s doorstep.
Polly is thrilled when she receives a letter from Zoo Newson.
Although reluctant at first to even let Jeff in the house, Natalie relents, and agrees to let him spend the night. Refusing to return home, Jeff continues to camp out at Natalie’s house, and one night ends up being two then three and four. This causes much gossip at school, because everyone else assumes that they are having an affair. But actually Natalie is being pursued by campus stud Casey (Alan Boyce), a relationship which she begins to take seriously but he doesn’t, eventually explaining that he’s interested in other girls when she sees him with someone else. Meanwhile Polly, who is jealous of the attention that Casey gives to Natalie and the fact that Jeff is living with her, has an accidental encounter with Zoo Knudsen (Billy Wirth) a celebrity baseball player who is from their town. Polly helps Zoo to escape from an aggressive fan who is pursuing him, and they have a brief romantic fling, which Polly interprets as romantic interest. Ironically Jeff is actually interested in Polly, but she is blinded by her desire for Zoo and doesn’t see it. Later Polly runs off to New York to pursue Zoo, is embarrassed at the ball park when the security guards grab her after she tries to throw herself at Zoo, and luckily is rescued by a sports photographer.
Polly has trouble understanding her relationships with Jeff, Natalie, and Zoo Newson.
At home, Jeff tries to console Natalie after her breakup with Casey. Fortunately for Natalie, she has won a trip to Washington D.C. where she meets the vice president and her US senator, and ends up being pursued by a young presidential aide. Things come to a crisis point for Jeff when Natalie’s father returns home early from a business trip and finds Jeff in his bed wearing his pajamas. The balance of the film has to do with how the three teens cope with their personal relationships and resolve their family problems.
Jeff and his mom fight over packing his things.
Seven Minutes in Heaven, which gets its name from a love note that Polly sends to Zoo Knudsen, is a refreshing change from most of the teen movies you see. The characters have some believability because the story line and characterizations of the three teen leads captures the head-in-the-clouds confusion typical of that age group. Jennifer Connelly does an excellent job of portraying an intelligent and dedicated teen interested in politics and ideals, but uncertain how to handle her attraction to young males. Maddie Corman is great as a frustrated yet sex-obsessed teen who wants to be noticed by boys on campus and is so blinded by her brief encounter with Zoo Knudsen that she doesn’t see attraction that Jeff has for her. Byron Thames brings a lot of energy and conviction to his role as a young teen who feels abandoned by his parents, runs away from home, and ends up with two girls in his life — Natalie who he lives with and Polly who he likes. Although the film does deal with sexual issues, it isn’t done in a way that overpowers or dominates the character study and development that is the main emphasis of the film. The innocence and naivety of the three characters is brought out by director Linda Feferman — these kids are still adolescents discovering what life is about. When the film is over, you see that the three friends have been changed by their experiences, but only a little. Coming of age is a gradual process and the power of friendship is more important in the long run. This is a film that both teenagers and their parents can enjoy.
Jeff relaxes in Natalie’s living room.
Jeff hides under the bed when Natalie’s aunt comes over.
A number of characters in Seven Minutes from Heaven are seen wearing chucks. Byron Thames in his role as Jeff wears navy blue low cut chucks throughout most of the film. Natalie’s boy friend Casey and the professional baseball player Zoo Newson are seen wearing black high tops, and Polly wears red high tops in a couple of scenes. The best scenes occurs in Natalie’s bed room. First we see Jeff racing to hide under Natalie’s bed when her aunt comes over. Later, while Natalie and Casey are making out on the bed, the camera discreetly focuses on his chucks and her black loafers.
A pair of black high tops and a pair of penny loafers testifies to the attraction between Natalie and Casey.
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