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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 20, 2019

BREAKTHROUGH movie review: a faith-based film about miracles perfect for the Lenten season

BREAKTHROUGH movie review

‘BREAKTHROUGH’ is a faith-based film ideal for Holy Week, the kind that U.S. critics despise for being preachy. This one was tore to pieces by reviewers, just like other similarly themed Christian movies. But obviously, there is a market for this, as more and more faith-based films are currently being produced. This means that despite the crass materialism that engulf most societies these days, there is still a section that believes in the presence of a Divine Providence in our lives.

Based on a true story, “Breakthrough” is about a mother in Missouri whose fervent prayers bring back her 14-year old son to life after he falls into a frozen lake and has no heartbeat for about 45 minutes. The mother is Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and her son is John Smith (Marcel Ruiz). Both mom Joyce and dad Brian (Josh Lucas) are very supportive, but the boy has many issues as he knows he’s just adopted, so he is quite aloof or even detached from his parents, his teachers, his basketball coach.

He and his two friends all plunge into the icy lake but the people who respond to help them manage to quickly pull out the two other boys right away. One of them accidentally kicks John on the face and he gets knocked out so he sinks deeper into the lake. It takes a while before fireman Tommy Shine (Mike Colter of “Luke Cage”) is able to locate and rescue him. He hears a voice telling him to “go back” and that’s when he succeeds in locating where John is.

 John is rushed to the hospital but the doctor in charge fails to revive him and he’s declared dead. But Joyce implores the Lord to save him and his heartbeat comes back. He is then transferred to a hospital for children where a famous specialist, Dr. Garrett (Dennis Haysbert), tells his parents that even if he survives, he’ll have brain damage.

Joyce continues to refuse to give up. She’s conservative and traditional in her steadfast faith. As such, she has clashes with their church’s new pastor from California, Jason Noble (Topher Grace), who she didn’t really like from the start as he brings rock and rap music into their church service. People in their church also sings beautiful worship songs outside John’s hospital room and, eventually, John regains consciousness.

John recovers fully and returns to school, where a recently widowed teacher asks him: “Why you?” Others who have lost their own loved ones confront him with the same question. Of course, John is unable to answer it. The truth is it’s unexplainable, like Jesus confronting Saul on the road to Damascus and making him St. Paul. Why him?

If you are not religious, then you’d treat this film as a fantasy or a fairy tale for believers who believe in miracles. John eventually realizes the value of his mom praying for his life and shows her how grateful he is. The film asks us to have faith and trust without question, to believe that fervent prayers conquer all. If you are already a believer, then you don't need to watch this film to help confirm your faith. But if you're not, you can watch hundreds of movies like this and you still would not believe.