WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
I consider myself a Christian, but I wouldn't say I am overly religious. With that said, I enjoyed Breakthrough for the inspiring and spiritual recital of true happenings that it is.
Based on the true story of John Smith (played by Marcel Ruiz) who, according to NBC News, made a miraculous recovery after slipping through an icy lake and had no pulse for 45 minutes after that. Breakthrough is quite evidentially based on faith and believing in God, or some higher power, but also on the impact the unwavering love and support a mother, family and even community can have on someone.
Chrissy Metz, known for her role as Kate in This Is Us, plays John's mom Joyce, and if you've watched and loved Chrissy's raw and emotional scenes in the NBC series, then you'll know that she knows just how to turn on the theatrics and waterworks. Her portrayal of an overly concerned mother hit with the terrible thought of losing her son but never giving up hope or faith that he will survive is on point. She had me feeling every emotion she went through whether it was anger, desperation, heartache or confusion.
Aside from Chrissy's spotlight-stealing performance, I thoroughly enjoyed Topher Grace as the family's new Pastor, Jason Noble and Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as the fireman who pulled John from the ice, Tommy Shine.
The two characters never meet or relate to one another in the film at all, but the sheer contrast of their character personalities is what made me, as someone who isn't overly religious, still feel as though I can relate. On the one hand, Paster Jason is young and new to the church to get a more youthful crowd keen to go to church. On the other hand, Tommy is a man who doesn't believe in God but still forms an integral part of this amazing miracle that some think can only be explained through the works of the Holy Spirit.
On the downside the film left out, or vaguely covered rather, the medical and emergency details of the incident. It all just felt rushed, unexplained and unrealistic when it came to paramedics attending to John on the scene, as well as in the hospital – there are enough medical dramas on TV to know that things are not so casual in the emergency room. While still a miracle, I feel as though screenplay writer Grant Nieporte and director Roxann Dawson could have put more effort into the medical side of the miracle.
Aside from the spiritual parts of the story, anyone and everyone loves a good miracle that no one can explain and although it's slow leading up to the accident and the meaty part of the film, John's story will have viewers on the edge of their seat crying, wishing, praying and even singing for him to make it.
It's not an Oscar-winning film, but it is a cheesy, inspiring tearjerker that you don't need to go to the cinema to see but will still enjoy.