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Rated 3.06 stars
by 16 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Inspiring & Miraculous True Story
by Diana Saenger

I was invited to see Breakthrough for the first time months before it hit the theaters, and I had no clue how much it would move me. The film is about Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz) and her husband Brian (Josh Lucas) who adopted a young boy, named him John, and looked forward to happy days.

John (Marcel Ruiz) has friends at school and enjoys playing basketball. Teenagers like to challenge each other, so on Martin Luther King Monday of 2015 John’s friends, Josh (Isaac Kragten) and Reiger (Nikolas Dukic) decide to venture over to Lake Ste. Louise. They can’t wait to venture out on the ice for a little sliding. John is last, and as soon as he follows the boys the ice cracks. One by one they are all below the water.

Josh and Reiger make their way out, but John sinks further down the hole. Someone sees this and calls for help.  Captain Tommy Shine (Mike Colter) and the Wentzville firefighters show up. Shine quickly takes his supplies and hurries to rescue the boys. Because Josh and Reiger are out by now, Shine starts trying to find John even though he has been under the water at least 13 minutes. Once out, Shine hurries to get the lifeless, limp as a noodle, not-breathing John to the ambulance.

Once at the hospital, everything is tried to save the boy’s life.  Finally, his mother is called to come and say goodbye to her son. Joyce Smith (with an amazing portrayal by Chrissy Metz) cries over her son and asks God to save him. She screams and even demands God’s help. After a few days, nothing changes but the doctors do not stop trying.

The movie also focuses on Jason, the town Pastor (Topher Grace), who stays with the family saying prayers and trying to comfort the family, especially Joyce. She really does not care for him -- and keeps reminding him she doesn’t like his hair, which earns many laughs from the audience.

Although the movie includes comedy throughout, it focuses on Joyce staying strong in her faith and believing in God. The last time I viewed this movie was with an audience of over 100 people who could not say anything but how wonderful it is. They praised all of the people who brought it to the big screen. Captain Shine says, “The emotion and shock and awe that took place in the emergency room is indescribable.”

This film is adapted from the book Breakthrough by Joyce Smith.  Already strong in faith, John Smith now speaks to church groups and banquets and has plans to become a minister. “I truly call it the miracle on ice because that is what it is. The three of us, we stared death in the face,” John explains.

(Released by 20th Century Fox and rated “PG” for thematic content including peril.)

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