Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Intense peril in faith- and fact-based tearjerker.

Movie PG 2019 116 minutes
Breakthrough Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 2+

God hears

This movie touched my heart in so many ways , a mother that never stopped believing in the faith an hope Hope= ( hold , on , pain , ends ) .the love she felt for her son .an the togetherNess how the community pulled together to show there love an support for John an the family .the rescue team that stood in touch with the fight for John .the church omg the church .it just shows the power of farther God .that he hears us r cries . I cried many times throughout this film the music the whole film has touched my heart.Im fighting brain cancer an this film gives me hope that God is listening . Amen .

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Breakthrough - Strong On Outcomes

Prolific actor/director Roxann Dawson (Star Trek: Voyager) shows a good flair for being a first-class actor’s director in this beautifully produced, performed, and photographed production. A strong cast brings what some might call a predictable story to vivid life. Any story based on factual and relatively inexplicable occurrences --based on a strong faith premise – can’t help but feature a certain degree of predicable asides – for these are determined by the amazing factual outcomes at its core. There will always be doubters when it comes to incidents that involve supernatural intervention and this will vary with the degree of faith held by the viewer. Thankfully, this production only features one or two scenes that perhaps begin to fall into the trap of over sentimentalising certain situations. But convincing performances and a generally powerful fact-based script lift it over and above any contrivances. What comes across perfectly, is the always difficult to achieve embodiment of repaired relationships - especially in this case, involving a damaged adopted family member. Might be worth seeing by all in need of genuinely inspirational entertainment. Others, just stay away or go to a crowd pleasers comic-book action flick if you really want banality. Features Diane Warren’s 2019 Academy Award-nominated song “I’m Standing With You” as performed by Chrissy Metz.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14):
Kids say (25):

This is how to make an evangelical faith-based film. From the first notes of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" in the opening scene, it's clear that Breakthrough is going to be a very different moviegoing experience than what many faith-based audiences are used to. That's because it reflects real American life, not just a Christian bubble: Teens talk about "hot" girls, tease each other in a way that feels like bullying, and even use a mild curse word. Setting that reality up makes it all the more affecting when tragedy strikes the Smith family -- and all the easier to believe the miracle that unfolds. It's also what gives Breakthrough the power to cross over to a mainstream audience (particularly with the NBA's Stephen Curry involved as a producer -- be ready to roll your eyes when characters go on and on about the Warriors game).

Devout Christians may feel discomfort at the secular inclusions; smartly, the movie addresses that conflict through Joyce's irritation with the new pastor from California and all of the "left coast" changes he brings to the Smiths' Missouri town -- like Christian rap and sermons incorporating The Bachelor. But that's real. And so are the main characters: Joyce is prickly, rigid, and not always kind; teen John has an attitude; dad Brian is sometimes weak; and pastor Jason can be a bit of a tool. They aren't always necessarily likable, but the film's honesty is what gives it power. More strength comes from Metz's sensational performance: She doesn't act like a mother whose son is hanging on to life by a thread, she lives it -- and her authenticity will affect every mother in the audience. In its unconventional approach, Breakthrough just might shatter the faith-based film glass ceiling.

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