Children of Heaven takes place in Iran and involves a hard working poor family who live a honest, humble, and modest lifestyle. The Mandegar family has a hard time making ends meet. They’re a few months late on their rent payment, and even their groceries need to be put on a tab to pay later.
Ali, the young boy in the film, goes to the cobbler to stitch up his sister Zahra's shoes. As Ali goes inside the store to pick out potatoes, he leaves Zahra's shoes behind. The trash collector accidently picks up the bag of shoes. Ali frantically tries to find them but knocks down the fruit and is kicked out by the shop keeper.
Ali is devastated, and he breaks the news to his sister. Ali asks Zahra to promise not to tell his parents, for fear of punishment, and tells Zahra to share his sneakers. Every day Ali and Zahra have to run to school and back in order to exchange the sneakers with slippers.
Zahra soon discovers her lost shoes are worn by Roya, a student at her school. After school, Zahra takes Ali to Roya's house. They witness Roya's father is blind and Roya's family has the same economic hardship as they do.
Ali, the kind-hearted, unselfish brother gives away his possessions to his sister Zahra. He talks to her with respect, love and warmth. He is affectionate towards his sister and tries to make her pleased. Ali refuses repeated invitations from the neighborhood boys to join them in a soccer match; he tells them his mother is ill. Ali is a hard working student and earns top grades in the class.
Zahra is a responsible, caring daughter and sister. She worries that she will be late to give the sneakers to Ali and runs to meet him for the exchange. She takes care of the household chores and tends to her baby sibling.
Amir, the father and the breadwinner of the Mandegar family, tries to seek a more reliable, higher-paying job. He currently serves tea at male gatherings, but the small income doesn't pay off the debt and bills. Ali goes along with his father to find a job at an upper class affluent district.
His father is nervous to speak at the intercom, but Ali impresses his father with his confidence to speak, and Amir praises him. Amir dreams of a better life after finishing a yard job. He talks about items to purchase for his family. Ali, the generous good boy, only asks his father to purchase new shoes for his sister. An accident occurs, and the shoes are no longer a priority.
Meanwhile, an announcement is made at the school for a boys' racing competition. At first, it didn't faze Ali to participate. However, after the poster was hung which showed the top prizes, the third prize was a pair of new sneakers. Ali goes to the coach, persisting him to enroll him in the race even though the sign-up date has passed.
Ali rushes to Zahra to tell her of the exciting news and promises to win third place to win the sneakers. Will Zahra finally get a new pair of shoes? What happens to Ali – does he win?
Children of Heaven is a family movie enjoyed by all ages. It is one of the rare movies to witness a respectable interaction with parents and children and also a loving friendly relationship between a brother and sister. The language of the movie is in Farsi; however the subtitles are in English. If you have a hard time finding this film at your local video store, you are guaranteed to find it through Netflix or purchase it online through any DVD distributor.