Culture

Breakthrough: What does yours look like?

by Joanne Kwok // April 9, 2019, 10:45 pm

Breakthrough movie - drowning

Coming to theatres on April 11, Breakthrough is this year’s Easter offering on the big screen.

With a surprisingly star-studded cast for a faith-based movie that boldly addresses the power of prayer and the real-life miracle it is based on, the story of John Smith and his adoptive mother Joyce has clearly won the hearts of Hollywood.

There’s Topher Grace, whom you might recognise from That 70’s Show and Spiderman 3, Dennis Haysbert, from 24, Chrissy Metz, from This is Us, and if you watch enough American TV, Josh Lucas, Mike Colter, and Sam Trammell to name a few.

(Bonus: The show is produced by Stephen Curry, only the greatest NBA shooter of all time.)

And no need for a spoiler alert, because we’re told right from the synopsis that this is an adaptation of Joyce’s own written account on how she refused to give up even after her son was pronounced dead after falling through an icy lake in Missouri, back in 2015.

Kinda like how we watch every Jesus film knowing He’s coming back alive on the third day.

But what Breakthrough does differently, is smartly use a miracle story to carry the many kinds of breakthroughs each character encounters for themselves, very much like how each of us have and seek breakthroughs unique to our own faith journeys.

Breakthrough_stills (5)

So it’s more than just a mother praying for her son to come back to life, amazing as that is. As the nurse who was actually present at the real scene testified: “The minute you (Joyce) prayed, something moved up John’s body with such force, it pushed me back – and suddenly, I got a pulse.”

It’s about John’s own breakthrough, as he struggled with his identity and was growing increasingly estranged from his adoptive parents before the accident occurred. It’s about the fireman who miraculously rescues him after almost 15 minutes of disappearing into the lake, whose disbelief in God is confronted. It’s about everyone’s trial of faith in the face of a medical impossibility.

And just when you think the movie is about to end, it’s about the undeniable elephant in the movie theatre: Why does God choose to save some but not others?

Praying for the dying

The resultant beauty of Breakthrough is this: You will find your place in it. Whether it’s the moment of complete helplessness in one of life’s harder curveballs or the bitterness that creeps in when someone else receives a second chance you don’t get, this movie will bring each person to the unique reckoning that precedes every breakthrough by putting its finger on the parts that matter most to you.

Take note of the moments that make you cry.

Our tears point to the areas God is stirring in our lives, readying for growth and rebirth. Even Joyce comes face to face with her own shortcomings of faith, despite being the woman who appears to have the most faith throughout. And like its predecessor, 2018’s The Shack, Breakthrough carries the Easter message of hope and new life in the midst of tragedy with much grace.

Breakthrough stills 1

I believe that this is a message for many of us in this season of Lent, that wherever we are on our search for breakthrough, whatever breakthrough might look like for us, God meets us there and has a plan.

“The challenges are there for you to see the breakthroughs that are coming,” a wise man told me last year as he took time to pray for me. “God is going before you – there is going to be a breakthrough for you.”

It may have been years of wondering or just a season of wrestling, but of this we can be sure: God is right there with you, with His perfect plan, perfect timing and perfect power. He is coming for you. There will be breakthrough.


Breakthrough opens exclusively at GV tomorrow, April 11, 2019. 

THINK + TALK

  1. What areas in your life are you struggling with?
  2. Do you believe that there can be a breakthrough?
  3. Think about a time when you saw the power of prayer at work. What did you learn about God through that experience?
About the author

Joanne Kwok

Joanne is a bundle of creative energy commonly heard before she is seen. She believes in the triune power of good conversation, brilliant writing and bold ideas. She also likes milo.