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Breakthrough (2019)

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In 26 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

When her 14-year-old son drowns in a lake, a faithful mother prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed.


Roxann Dawson


Grant Nieporte (screenplay by), Joyce Smith (based upon the book by)
31 ( 70)



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Credited cast:
Chrissy Metz ... Joyce Smith
Topher Grace ... Pastor Jason Noble
Josh Lucas ... Brian Smith
Marcel Ruiz ... John Smith
Dennis Haysbert ... Doctor Garrett
Rebecca Staab ... Cindy Reiger
Sam Trammell ... Dr. Kent Sutterer
Mike Colter ... Tommy Shine
Ali Skovbye ... Emma
Lisa Durupt ... Paula Noble
Stephanie Czajkowski ... Melissa
Victor Zinck Jr. ... Joe Morrow
Taylor Mosby ... Chayla
Isaac Kragten ... Josh
Nikolas Dukic ... Reiger


When he was 14, Smith drowned in Lake Saint Louis and was dead for nearly an hour. According to reports at the time, CPR was performed 27 minutes to no avail. Then the youth's mother, Joyce Smith, entered the room, praying loudly. Suddenly, there was a pulse, and Smith came around.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic content including peril | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

17 April 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breakthrough See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,282,333, 21 April 2019, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,789,258, 21 April 2019

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,618,425, 17 April 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First 20th Century Fox film to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. See more »


The film is set in Missouri, in the United States. Yet when John is transported by helicopter to the hospital, the helicopter has a registration number beginning with a C, which signifies it as a Canadian aircraft. American aircraft registration numbers always begin with N. See more »


Joyce Smith: Now's not a good time.
Pastor Jason Noble: I know... that's why I'm here.
See more »

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User Reviews

Heartfelt Story That is Easy to Connect to, No Matter Your Religion
20 April 2019 | by rannynmSee all my reviews

This is a very heartfelt movie that will make you cry and laugh at the same time. Based on a true story with a strong religious theme, Breakthrough is a perfect movie to enjoy with your family. It doesn't matter what your religion is: it is very easy to connect with this story and to feel very emotional. I love the acting and all the positive messages it contains.

This is the story of a 14-year-old boy, John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) who suffers a terrible accident: when playing in a frozen lake, he drowns and is rescued by a fireman about 20 minutes later. He miraculously survives but is in serious condition. His mom never surrenders hope and prays with fervor to keep him alive.

I like the underwater scenes: I love how they look and how they are filmed. In the movie poster we see the main character under the water, and, despite knowing he will fall, I still jumped from my seat when the ice broke. I think it is amazing how a simple story can make such an impact on the audience.

The story is well narrated. There's a song at the beginning of the film that could have been shorter, although it is good. It feels like a music video trapped in a film that is not a musical, but when the movie resumes, the narrative keeps you interested.

Chrissy Metz, who plays John's mother, portrays the character so well, it made me cry; you feel the connection with her suffering, and it is very powerful. She confronts doctors, and, although John is in a medically-induced coma, she keeps her faith alive. She doesn't get along with Pastora Jason Noble (Topher Grace) because she thinks he is too cool to be spiritual, but she bonds with this man who is very supportive and caring. John, of course, spends a good portion of the movie dormant, but he makes you pray for him because you want to see him alive.

The message of this film is never give up and always have faith. Another message is even if you don't fully like someone it doesn't mean you can't set aside your differences and work together. I also think is important for young audiences to understand that accidents happen, and we need to be careful.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

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