4/10 Religious, independent films often have their heart in the right place and have a powerful story to tell but fall short due to either low production values due to budgetary restrictions or are just overall extremely cheesy. “Breakthrough” has the cheesiness problem. What this movie gets right is the story and the fact that it is a miraculous, emotional, touching one. This true story is very powerful and brought me (and my mother) to tears on more than one occasion. There really is no way to describe what happens in this story other than a miracle and that is pretty fascinating. The production budget isn’t high but the production value was better than I assumed it would be and some of the “falling under the ice” effects looked well done and were clever. The powerful story, emotional strength and not being completely predictable gives this movie some points and if you are a religious person, I would recommend it to you. All that being said, this movie definitely has some problems. Right off the bat, since Stephen Curry executive produced this, he had to shoe horn himself into the movie via posters of himself and references to how great of a player he is, which came across as self-masturbatory and eye rolling. The cheesy factor is definitely the movie’s greatest flaw. There are two musical centered scenes. One involving a church’s band performing that was so obviously over dubbed and using lip syncing that one guy rapping into the microphone had his voice magically auto tuned, which was laughable. The other, even worse offender comes when a candle light vigil takes place and everyone busts out into song that not only everyone happens to know every word to, but the main girl singing must have had some invisible microphone floating in front of her face because her voice was booming and overpowering everyone else. Cheesy scenes like that really bring an otherwise realistic movie down pretty far. There are definitely clichés in the movie which is to be expected but not excusable. Topher Grace plays a pastor whom is a really nice, kind guy for every scene he is in except for the very first scene he is introduced in when he kicks a women’s group out of a room in the church. Setting him up to be such a jerk makes it jarring and out of character when we realize that he isn’t. First off, if you double book a room in a church, couldn’t you find another room to use? Does this church only have one room? Second, in introducing him to be a jerk, we expect that for the rest of the movie and it ends up being the opposite of how his character really is. Overall, I would recommend this movie to religious folks or people who want to see a pretty amazing story with high emotional stakes. Just don’t expect this movie to be of a very high quality as the cheesiness and clichés really bring the movie down.
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