Family Review: BREAKTHROUGH Is An Unusually Solid Christian Drama4 min read

By Trina Boice

Republished with permission from The Movie Review Mom


Based on a true story, Breakthrough is an uplifting movie that has been mostly dismissed as another one of those “preachy” Christian films.  It’s about an adopted boy who fell through frozen ice on a lake and was immersed for 15 minutes, something that should have resulted in his death.  His faithful mother prayed fiercely and rallied others around her to not give up on him. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that he survived! That’s one of the miracles the film is about. It will build the faith of believers and give non-believers something to think about. 


Fans of the popular TV show This Is Us: Season 1 (it’s really great) will love seeing Chrissy Metz in the leading role as the tenacious mother. She did a fantastic job and even sings the inspiring song I'm Standing With You. This movie is timed perfectly to open during Mother's Day weekend in the USA.  Oh that we all had mothers as devoted as Joyce Smith!

It's a bit tricky, however, because good parents have lost children they loved for thousands of years.  When parents watch this movie, they may feel worse or wonder if only they had enough faith, would their child have lived.  While this story needs to be told and celebrated, it's important to know that God has a plan for everyone and His plan may be very different from ours.  Having faith isn't about always getting your prayers answered the way you want. Having faith is simply trusting God.

Topher Grace and Josh Lucas do great jobs as the pastor and “miracle boy.”   The soundtrack by Mercury Nashville is really nice and features new music from Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton, Jukebox the Ghost, Pigeon John, Maddie & Tae, Phil Wickham, and Adam Hambrick.

One of the executive producers of the movie is Stephen Curry, who is the point guard for the NBA team Golden State Warriors. I always love it when you get to see pictures of the real people the story is about at the end of the movie.

There isn’t really any humor, which would have been a nice way to balance the drama, tension, and sadness during the film.  At times, the movie is a bit slow moving. The scene at the church at the end of the movie where everyone stands was powerful.  We really do need each other and love truly is the most powerful force in this world.

I really wanted Allstate actor Dennis Haysbert (who played the doctor) to tell the parents, “You're in good hands….”


The only profanity comes from the boy, John Smith (Marcel Ruiz).  The story will be particularly meaningful to adoptive families.  John is a boy from Guatemala who was adopted by a loving American family when they went there on a Christian mission trip.  Three teenage boys are in a perilous situation and one is on the brink of death. Teens will be interested to see how the various kids at school treat John before and after his miracle.


    • Faith
    • Pray boldly.
    • “Love is the most powerful force in this earth.” – Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz)
    • “You have a purpose and you are loved.” – Joyce Smith
    • The worth of a soul.
    • “Yesterday is not ours to recover but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – poster at John’s school
    • “Either I'm nuts or God's talking to me.” – Tommy Shine (Mike Colter)
    • “Without the power of love, we cannot flourish, we cannot grow, we cannot find our place in this world.” – Joyce Smith


Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at You can find her books on Amazon, and at

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