A few days ago I went to see a film entitled Breakthrough. It is the account of a true medical miracle, a young person revived from apparent death from drowning. It is a true and amazing story, and it is beautifully told and acted. It places great emphasis on the power of prayer.
The people in the movie are professing Christians, but they are not portrayed as being models of good looks and probity. The mother, the true heroine of the tale, is grossly overweight, not at all like the typical Hollywood actress. Though her Christian faith is emphasized, in some scenes she comes across as extremely rude and unpleasant. No one in the film is played as a sinless saint. Indeed, the entire cast does an excellent job of portraying average people, good church-going people, under stress.
The cinema also touches on some very difficult spiritual questions. Why are some people prayed for and are miraculously healed while others die? What was so special about this young person that drowned and then recovered? What does the future hold for the boy? What would have happened to the mother had he not recovered? The movie touches on these questions, but it provides no glib answers. It makes you think, and you come to realize that the will of God is unknowable. We pray for a good outcome, but in the final analysis we must learn to love and accept.
I read some of the reviews of Breakthrough, and it is fascinating to consider the range of reactions to this film. Many loved it, but a few of those who saw the movie apparently hated it. They thought it preachy, poorly acted, and boring. Even the well-known film critic Roger Ebert said that the movie was “less a story than it is a sermon, aimed directly at the choir and nobody else.” I myself am a choir member, but I strongly disagree with Ebert’s criticism. I suggest that you go check it out yourself. We need good, positive stories like this one.