Produced by DeVon Franklin (“Miracles from Heaven”) and directed by Roxann Dawson (“House of Cards,” “Bates Motel”), “Breakthrough” recounts the true story of John Smith, who in 2015 ventured onto thin ice on a frozen Missouri lake. They crashed through, and John sank to the bottom. He was rescued by firemen after 15 minutes and was rushed to a nearby hospital. With a body temperature of 88 degrees and no pulse, he was pronounced dead.
However, when John’s mother Joyce (played by Chrissy Mets) showed up and prayed over his body, he began to show flickers of life. Miraculously, the teen recovered without neurological impairment.
John, played by Hispanic actor Marcel Ruiz, was adopted from Guatemala – a fact that Dawson told The Gospel Herald drew her to the story.
“I have an adopted daughter and I also have a biological daughter as well,” she shared. “And I have two photos of them in my office. My photo is when my biological daughter was handed to me for the first time, and the other is when I held my adopted daughter from China for the first time. My expression in both photos is the same.
“I want people to understand that love is the same, our children come to us in different ways,” she continued. “They’re both of my babies, and I love them. So, I identified with Joyce and her love for John, even when John couldn’t understand her love and questioned his abandonment. All of that rang very true for me.”
“Breakthrough” is based on Joyce’s 2017 book “The Impossible,” which documents how she refused to give up hope that God would work a miracle over her son. The film is releasing just in time for Easter – a movie Franklin told GH was intentional.
“We need this story right now because we need hope,” he said. “I think so often we let our differences to keep us apart. And I think this movie says that even if we have differences, we can still come together, we can still pray together, we can still love one another. And I do think that this movie at this time is really perfectly divinely timed, so to speak.”
Franklin told GH that a number of miracles occurred on the set of “Breakthrough,” adding: “A lot of people think Hollywood is a place that has no faith. That is absolutely not true. You’ve got to have faith to get a movie made because there are so many obstacles in our way.”
“When you look at the vision and you look at the production value, I mean, it’s just amazing to me,” he continued. “So for me personally, I look at that and say, ‘Wow, it’s incredible what can happen when we come together and really put the story first.'”
While “Breakthrough” is an overtly Christian film, Franklin said it will resonate with all audiences because everyone – regardless of their faith or background – experiences struggles.
“It’s just a really good film and a great story and, and it’s true,” he said. “I think it’ll hit people in different ways, but it’s certainly not just preaching to the choir.”
You can find “Breakthrough” playing in a theater near you starting Wednesday, April 17.