Breakthrough (2019)

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Released:  Wednesday, April 17, 2019  
Length:  116 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Studios
Genre: Drama
Rating: Breakthrough is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.


When Joyce Smith’s son John falls through an icy lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up, and her steadfast belief inspires those around her to pray for his recovery. Based on the incredible true story of one mother’s unwavering devotion, Breakthrough is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle.

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Breakthrough images are © 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


Breakthrough 4K Ultra HD Review

Do you believe in miracles?  What about the power of prayer?  Every year people defy the odds medically and astound doctors by recovering from seemingly fatal injuries or illnesses.  One such story was made into a book in 2017, The Impossible, and was Joyce Smith's retelling of her journey with her religion and how it helped her through one of the toughest times in her life.  In 2019, it was made into a faith-based feature file, Breakthough, which is out now on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD.

John (Marcel Ruiz, One Day at a Time) was a typical teenage boy.  He fought with his adoptive parents, Joyce (Chrissy Metz; This is Us) and Brian (Josh Lucas; Sweet Home Alabama) Smith and reveled against their rules.  One day he and his friends walked onto the frozen lake where they fell in.  While his friends managed to make it to the surface and got rescued, John was lost in the water until one diver managed to find him after fifteen minutes below the surface.  As emergency workers rush him to the hospital, they cannot find a pulse.

Once there, his mother prays as she holds him close until suddenly a pulse is detected.  Doctors are amazed but caution that even if he lives, John will likely remain in a vegetative state.  After John is transferred to a hospital that could better help him medically, he is placed in a coma.  Amazingly, he responds to Joyce and Pastor Noble (Topher Grace; That 70's Show) by squeezing their hands and he sheds a tear when people sing to him and pray for his recovery.  Miraculously, John wakes up once he is removed from the coma and returns to school to both cheers and scorn.  Some are amazed at his recovery while others angrily question why he survived his accident but their loved ones did not.   

This movie seems to be a case of which came first - the chicken or the egg.  The acting isn't great but one can't help to wonder if that is an indirect response to the sophomoric script or if the actors just really weren't at the top of their game. Metz is probably one of the better actors in this group but even she was overly dramatic at times.  Lucas didn't really emote well and Grace was merely decent.  The rest of the cast slogged through the dialogue without much to entice the viewer to invest in the story.

With the HDR 10+ video on the 4K, the quality is excellent, as you can only imagine.  Even though there aren't really any visuals to take one's breath away, the sharpness is extremely detailed.  The DTS-HD Master audio 7.1 fairs slightly better with crisp and clean dialogue and ambient noise.  The 4K disc only offers one extra - Audio Commentary by DeVon Franklin and Roxanna Dawson (which is also included on the Blu-ray)  - but the Blu-ray has a few more extras including: A Tapestry of Miracles: Making Breakthrough, "Carry My Soul" Paul Wickham Deleted Scene, Trapped in Icy Waters, Gallery and    Theatrical Trailer.

The story is emotional and hits every empathetic bone in the body. While the plot is heartwarming, unfortunately, the performances were cringy. I was rooting for this movie and its story but unfortunately, the execution was not up to par. Some moments had me really engrossed but they were outweighed by badly scripted or uncomfortable scenes. This movie seemed much too amateur for the story being told. I enjoyed part of it, but now that I've seen it, I don't need to see it again.

Grade: C


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