In Brief: A Friday Flicks look at the faith-based flick Breakthrough. In spots it manages to fall through its own version of ice but if it’s your thing, you’ll love it.
In January of 2015 John Smith was playing with friends on an icy river near St. Louis. The 14-year old fell through the ice, drowned and was underwater for at least 20-minutes before being brought to the surface.
After over an hour of working on the boy, and with no pulse, doctors pronounced him dead. His mother, Joyce was given access to John’s body. She began praying and the boy’s heart started beating. Credit for his revival was given to Jesus, and to God, and Joyce wrote a book about the incident.
The book evolved into a faith-based, major motion picture.
I don’t review Christian movies very often. Once in awhile one will pique my interest. This one’s interest comes courtesy of Golden Globe nominee Chrissy Metz and basketball star Stephen Curry who is one of the film’s producers.
Metz (TV’s This is Us) plays Joyce Smith. She’s joined by Topher Grace (David Duke in BlacKkKlansman) and Josh Lucas. Marcel Ruiz plays the boy and Dennis Haysbert — of TV insurance commercial huckster fame — does the doctor who takes on John’s impossible case.
The movie is a complete mess but has two positives. The first is Metz’s performance. She’s absolutely electric and you totally buy that she’s a woman who refuses to take no for an answer — even from God.
The acting of the rest of the cast is just competent though all — including Metz — fall victim to Grant Nieporte’s (Seven Pounds) overwrought script. He and director Roxann Dawson (B’Elanna Torres, the half-human, half-Klingon engineer from Star Trek: Voyager) turn Breakthrough into something that looks more like a Hallmark TV channel movie than a major motion picture.
However, to Dawson and Nieporte’s credit, the depiction of the boy’s death and the Herculean efforts to save his life are traumatic, dramatic and work. Dawson easily puts you in the place of a loved one placed in a position of absolute helplessness. Cries to God come quickly. Very few — the film notes and questions — get answers much less a miracle.
Grab a hanky or two if you go. Though the film doesn’t focus on the questions, those asked — especially when it comes to a faith-based movie — are very profound. That, too, I guess, is a miracle.
Director: Roxann Dawson
Stars: Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, Josh Lucas. Marcel Ruiz, Dennis Haysbert
Rating: This is a faith-based film and though I am faith-based, I don’t really like faith-based films. Most have more in common with Hallmark TV movies than real life. This one does manage to address real life and ask some good questions. The Friday Flicks faith-based flick Breakthrough gets a 3 on my 0 to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.