BREAKTHROUGH Review — Faith-Based Fare Just in Time for Easter

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Breakthrough Review — Sustenance for the faith-based, and an interesting look at a devout culture for non-believers.

Breakthrough reviewBefore you non-believers roll your eyes the second you see the words “faith-based,” ask yourself if you’d have the same reaction to a film about, say, an ancient Native American or African tribe, their rituals, and faith in their god. You might look at it as a cultural, and perhaps an educational experience. The emotion might even move you.

Perhaps you’ll regard Breakthrough as a good opportunity to learn a little about a fairly large segment of the population that exists all around you.

But if you’re a believer, you’ll be sold before you buy your ticket.

That’s partially because many have found inspiration in the book of the same name, written by Joyce Smith, who’s son really did come very close to losing his life when he fell through the ice and was submerged, unconscious, for over 20 minutes.

It’s also because of the savvy casting of Chrissy Metz (This is Us) who plays Smith. She’s supported by Josh Lucas, who plays her husband and Topher Grace, who is the hip young minister that Smith can’t quite wrap her arms around…at first. The last time you saw Grace, by the way, he was probably killing it as David Duke in Blackkklansman. Talk about range!

The real standout, however, is frosh actor Marcel Ruiz, who plays the son, John. Expect to see more, great things from him in the future.

As for the film itself, there’s little suspense in finding out how it ends. Most viewers have either read the book or realize that there would be no story, and hence no film, if events turned out any way other than how they did.

The plot, and the emotion, are centered on the journey. Faith is built, hearts are changed, a community comes together in an altruistic mission. Taking the film to another level, Breakthrough openly acknowledges the fact that not everyone gets their miracle. It addresses how prayers gone unanswered can ultimately be answers in and of themselves.

Rated PG

1 Hour 30 Minutes

If this Breakthrough review inspired you to see it, get times and tickets at

Breakthrough Review — Sustenance for the faith-based, and an interesting look at a devout culture for non-believers.


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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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