Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
When 14-year-old John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) and his friends play on a frozen-over lake in their Missouri town, the ice breaks and John becomes trapped under. After being rushed to the hospital, his mother, Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz), sees his lifeless body and begins to beg God to save him. Immediately after, John miraculously receives a weak heartbeat. However, even with this miracle the doctors continuously have no hope in a full recovery, but Joyce’s faith never wavers as she believes God will heal her son.
Breakthrough is a touching Christian movie that speaks to the inner-strength in those who believe. Director Roxann Dawson does her best to create an atmosphere that makes the audience question if John will live or die. However, for most people, her efforts will go amiss due to the well-publicized outcome to this story. Screenwriter Grant Nieporte does a great job of bringing Joyce’s inspirational retelling autobiography, The Impossible: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection, to the screen. Near the end, Nieporte has characters asking questions that many people do: why does God seem to answer some prayers while others seem to be “missed”?
One thing that won’t go missed in this Film is the all-around captivating performances. The one who stands out the most is the expressive Metz. In the beginning, it’s her reserved facial movements that convey her annoyance in the uncontrollable changes in her life. Then when the unthinkable happens to her son she shows ample amounts of emotion that display Joyce’s desperation. She’s so convincing that when she looks up to the invisible God she pleads to, she’ll make the audience believe he’s there. She is surrounded by a talented Supporting Cast consisting of the humorous Topher Grace who plays Pastor Jason Noble, a reserved Josh Lucas as John’s father Brian and the lovable Ruiz as John.
Overall, Breakthrough brings the touching true story to the big screen and showcases a powerful performance from Metz.
20th Century Fox Canada release BREAKTHROUGH Wednesday, April 17, 2019.