‘Breakthrough’ is a Faith-Based Movie on Author Joyce Smith’s Life

Based on an incredible story of one mother's unfailing love in the face of impossible odds, Joyce Smith prayed for her son's life after falling through a frozen lake. Witness how this miracle impacted an entire community in 'Breakthrough.'

“Breakthrough” is based on the incredible true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. Joyce Smith prayed her son back to life after he fell through a frozen lake and died and how this miracle impacted an entire community.  When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction.

From producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven) and adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s own book (initially published “The Impossible”), “Breakthrough” is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle.

John Smith was underneath the ice for 15 minutes, with no oxygen. When EMS workers rescued him, he had no pulse. They rushed him to the emergency room and worked on him for another 45 minutes. The doctors could not bring him back to life.  When they brought Joyce into the emergency room and she saw her son laid out on the table, dead, instead of saying goodbye, she grabbed his feet and said, ‘Holy Spirit please bring back my son right now!’ Immediately, the EKG machine began going off.   Written in the medical record: ‘Patient dead, mother prayed, patient came back to life.’

Producer DeVon Franklin explains, “When you’re underwater for that amount of time with no oxygen, the chances of medically recovering are slim to none. And so, for John to have no brain damage, no eye damage, no lung damage, for everything to have been healed, it's medically unheard of. For these reasons, they called it a medical miracle.”

Says Franklin, “Even before Joyce prays for John, it was miraculous that the firefighters and first responders were able to find him in the first place. Lake St. Louis is massive, like finding a needle in a haystack. When they put the poles down in the water, they didn't know where he was, and fireman Tommy Shine hears this voice, telling him where he needs to go. He thinks it’s the chief talking to him, but later finds out it wasn't the chief at all.”


Franklin first heard about the story through his friend Pastor Sam Rodriguez when he was a guest on Rodriguez’s Trinity Broadcast Network TV show, promoting the movie Miracles from Heaven. Recalls Franklin, “So they go on first and I hear their story, and I'm blown away. After the show is over, I go to them and say ‘Hey listen, I’ve got to tell your story.’”

Get Our Newsletter

Our weekly highlights and entertainment guides, straight to your inbox

Franklin hopes the film will be a catalyst for positive transformative change in the life of everyone who sees it. “We live in a time so divisive, where everybody is on different sides of the political aisle, and have different points of view on so many things. That division can keep us from reminding ourselves, we're still brothers and sisters. We're still in this together. I might not agree with you but I'll pray with you. My hope is that this movie can really stimulate and be a catalyst to get people back to praying together.”

He continues, “I truly hope that audiences take away from this movie, hope. Faith. Love. Joy. Community. And that all things really are possible. They may not always work out the way you want, and may not always fall in line, but when you are down you will see who really cares about you. Sometimes I think things don't work out the way we want, so that we understand we're more loved than we think. I hope and pray anyone who watches it will believe there really is a plan for your life.”

A timely movie during the season of Lent, “Breakthrough” opens April 10 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox. 

Recommended Videos

Related Content

Movie Info

Biography | Drama


‘Breakthrough’ and the Price of Overselling a Miracle
A good measure of restraint would have made the story so much more affecting by letting the miracle be what it is but with all the elements forcing it on the audience, it loses its overall impact.

Share this story

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email