DALLAS — "This is Us" star Chrissy Metz has shared the powerful reason the forthcoming film "Breakthrough" will resonate with all audiences - and why she believes it's a "beautiful reminder" that God has a purpose and plan for each and everyone one of His children.
From "Miracles from Heaven" producer DeVon Franklin, "Breakthrough" tells the real-life miraculous story of a Missouri boy named John Smith who slipped deep into an icy lake in January 2015. After being declared dead for over an hour, Smith woke up after his mother prayed - and event doctors can only describe as a medical miracle.
Metz, best known for her role as Kate Pearson on the NBC hit series "This is Us," plays John's mother, Joyce.
In an exclusive interview with The Gospel Herald, Metz explained that while "Breakthrough" is an overtly Christian film, audiences of all backgrounds and beliefs will identify with the story.
"It's based on a true story," she said. "These are real people who are flawed and who have this uncertainty in their lives and what it is that they're supposed to be doing. But also because there is something very powerful about a community coming together and coming on the other side of a really traumatic life event and being better for it. And we all want that because we all can relate to that. We all lose loved ones, or we all go through pain and grief."
"Not only that, but family is so important and I think that just reaffirms that we are placed in each other's lives for many different reasons, regardless of how it all has sort of transpired," she added.
Hitting theaters just ahead of Easter, "Breakthrough" is a modern-day resurrection story. John, who was adopted from Guatemala, was hanging out with several friends at a local park when the ice on Lake Sainte Louise cracked, and the three friends plunged into the 40-degree water.
When Joyce got to the hospital, the medical team had been performing CPR for almost a half-hour with no success. Shortly before the accident, she had been participating in the Believing God Bible study by Beth Moore, which hinges on the statement that "I believe God is who He says He is, and I believe He can do what He says He can do."
Instead of mourning the loss of her son, Joyce prayed - and expressed a belief that God could raise her child from the dead, ignoring those who disagreed with her.
"I think that when it comes to a mother's love and this unconditional love for their child, there's no way to explain that depth," Metz told GH. "When you're really adamant about wanting something as Joyce wanted John to survive, it doesn't matter who's in the line of fire, so to speak."
"She was, of course, resilient, but she was not moving," she continued. "Nobody was going to move her at all. And then, her to come on the other side of it and just surrender and trust that whatever God had intended was going to be the right thing."
After her son's pulse returned, Joyce thought the worst was over - but doctors disagreed, telling her that her son would likely have severe brain damage.
"The doctor told me, 'Even if John lives, he'll be a vegetable. There's brain damage, and the only brain function is brain stem function and it's very rudimentary,'" Joyce told GH in a 2017 interview. "I told him, 'Do your best. God will do the rest, but I want no negatives to be spoken around him. When you are in the room, I only want him to hear positive things.'"
But two days later, John woke up and began communicating with those around him, and several days after waking, he went off the ventilator. Just over two weeks later, he walked out of the hospital, basketball in hand. His rapid recovery defied every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction.
"Breakthrough" released its first trailer in December and has garnered over 100 million views. Metz told GH that the 20th Century Fox film is a "beautiful reminder" that God is sovereign over all aspects of life. She revealed that her own faith has helped carry her through "really difficult situations," from small incidents like avoiding crashes on the interstate to big, life-changing events.
"There are so many things that are working for our good that we don't even know about," she shared. "I think it's so beautiful because it's a film, but it's a true story. It's such a beautiful reminder of we don't always have the best idea. We don't always know what's best for us...but there's a plan and there's a purpose for all of our lives, every single one of us, whether we believe that or not."
"I hope," she added, "this film will inspire and remind people of that."
"Breakthrough" is directed by Roxann Dawson and hits theaters April 17, 2019. To learn more, visit breakthroughmovie.com.