“Breakthrough” stars Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Sam Trammel, and Dennis Haysbert. Released on April 17, 2019, the film follows the parents of a teenager who ended up in a coma after an accident.
The film features the directorial debut of Roxann Dawson, and it is based on the 2007 Christian novel, The Impossible, by Joyce Smith and Ginger Kolbaba. Miracles can happen anywhere at anytime. How people see them can depend on their beliefs. While most people see them as either pure coincidences or dumb luck, others believe that they come from the big man himself, God. It has actually been more than a year since I talked about a film that involves people’s faith in God, and yes, I’m talking about the dull representation of the story of Samson that came out last February. Watching that movie made me feel concerned about talking more about faith-based films out of fear of getting backlash from Christian audiences. Then this film came along, and it gave me enough courage to give this type of genre another chance. Just to be clear that I will be reviewing this film from a critic’s perspective and not from a Christian perspective.
The film follows the true story of John Smith (Ruiz), a 14-year-old who fell through the ice while playing with his friends. After being rescued by first responder Tommy Shine (Colter), Smith winds up in a coma. When his adoptive mother, Joyce (Metz), begs God to save her son, John’s body slowly comes back to life, leading to a miraculous journey that no one could ever imagine. The story reimagines this event from the perspectives of the characters that were involved, along with adding some faith-based elements into the mix for Christian audiences. The main issue that’s been plaguing plenty of Christian dramas nowadays is that they rely so much on attracting church groups and didn’t provide quality and storytelling for those outside of their target audiences, resulting in them being overly preachy and downright forgettable. “Breakthrough” looked like it might wind up being one of those types of films. However, there’s actually plenty of good stuff in the film that might attract people who didn’t go to church that often. Sure, it had plenty of melodramatic and “Hollywood-ized” scenes that may send the toughest critics into icy comas, but it also had an uplifting message and a heartwarming plot that’ll make people cry their eyeballs out. I should know, because I actually got teary-eyed while watching it. Chrissy Metz, known for her role in the NBC show “This Is Us”, delivered a passionate performance as Joyce. I didn’t actually watch a lot of “This Is Us”, but I did hear some good things about her, which is why I went to go see it in the first place. All I can say is that I would like to see her take on more roles like this in the future. Topher Grace was also decent in his role as Jason Noble, a pastor who supports the Smiths in a time of need. While the film had its share of predictable moments here and there, Roxann Dawson conjured up the right mixture of heart and drama into the characters to make me care for them, which is really important when it comes to films like this.
Overall, “Breakthrough” is a miracle that’s worth witnessing. Despite some of its preachiness, the film offers some talented performances and a feel-good plot that will make people say “Hallelujah”. It’s quite nice to see that I found a faith-based film that I actually liked. Maybe someday I’ll have enough courage to talk more about the other faith-based films that are coming out soon. If you’re in a mood for an uplifting drama this Easter weekend, this film might be for you.
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