“Patient died. Mother prayed. Patient came back to life.” (Pastor Jason Noble). That quote pretty much sums up the movie, Breakthrough, which opened over Easter weekend and is based on a true story. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of the movie before someone at our church invited my wife and me to go see it. We went Sunday evening and I will say upfront, it’s a must-see movie. It not only shows the reality of prayer and miracles but also how a whole community can pull together in time of tragedy.
Breakthrough tells the true story of 14-year-old John Smith, who fell through an iced-covered lake in January 2015 and had no pulse of 45 minutes, and his mother Joyce’s, faith in his healing. The following description is from the movie website:
“BREAKTHROUGH is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. From producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven) and adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s own book, BREAKTHROUGH is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle.”
The movie is riveting and emotional. I found myself pushing back tears in several places; especially seeing the love and tenacity of a mother (Joyce Smith, played by Chrissy Metz) who fought for her son’s life and recovery, even through it looked impossible to everyone else. One particular scene was in the ER where the doctors, after having done all they knew to do, had given up on John and left her alone with her lifeless son’s body so she could say farewell to him before they took him away. Instead, she cries out to God in prayer (more like yelling at Him to bring her son back!) and all of a sudden the monitor starts beeping, indicating her son’s pulse had started up again. And that was just the first miracle of many to come (I won’t tell anymore; you need to see the movie!)
As her pastor, Jason Noble (played by Topher Grace), said of her, “You’re the fiercest mama bear I’ve ever seen.” That’s probably an understatement! I also appreciated the real rawness and honesty that the film projected, showing how it was a test of faith and dealing with doubts, and even questioning why God does seem to answer some prayer more than others. That really is a mystery, which the film portrays well.
Even the doctor (Dr. Garrett, played by Dennis Haysbert) said of her, “His mother believes He can do the impossible. So we’re asking for that. There’s no other explanation.”
He later told Joyce after John woke up, “You son’s a miracle.”
I don’t usually review or recommend movies on this blog, but if you want to witness the retelling of a real, medically-documented miracle, and what prayer and faith and love can do, go see this movie. It’s moving, inspirational, and well-done.