After watching this movie, I was able to cross it off of several lists I refer to as "Blind Spots", films of some acclaim that I have missed over the years. Among the IMDB lists on which Children of Heaven appears are Sport Top 50 (3rd), Family Top 50 (16th), 1990s Top 50 (31st), and Top 250 (176th). It was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (it lost to Life Is Beautiful, which I haven't seen ... that one is on a lot of my Blind Spot lists, as well) ... it was the first Iranian film to have received an Oscar nomination.
I knew little about the film going in, which is usually how I like it. I admit I was surprised to see it on a Top Sports Movie list ... the IMDB description reads "After a boy loses his sister's pair of shoes, he goes on a series of adventures in order to find them." Which is accurate, but I should have read the next sentence, "When he can't, he tries a new way to 'win' a new pair."
Children of Heaven is a simple story, and writer/director Majid Majidi does an excellent job of showing the world as a child might see it. The latter part of the story, when the boy tries to win the new shoes, is a bit of a stretch, but hey, that's how it goes with sports movies ... the end is always the big race/game/bout. Majidi elicits fine performances from the pair of siblings, and the slice-of-life vision of Iranian life is also illuminating.
All of the above is true, and I can certainly recommend Children of Heaven to fans of family movies. But I confess I wasn't as moved as I thought I should be, which may just be me. It's a fine film.