‘This is Us’ Chrissy Metz Stars in Upcoming Faith-Based Film

Miracles still happen. That is the message of the faith-based film, Breakthrough starring This is Us’ Chrissy Metz. Based on Joyce Smith’s book, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection, Breakthrough tells the true story of an event that happened just four years ago.

Metz plays Smith whose 14-year-old son falls through the ice of a Missouri lake. He was trapped under water for 15 minutes and even after he was rescued, he had no pulse for 43 minutes. All seemed lost and Smith was told to come in and say her goodbyes to her son as there was no hope for the boy. But Smith refused to give up and continued to pray for her son’s complete recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. Not only did her son come back to life, but he is alive today telling his story.

Directed by Roxann Dawson and produced by DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven), Breakthrough also stars Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter…

Joyful Noise is a Delightful Mess

Almost everyone know someone who isn’t all quite together, but you love them anyway because deep inside they are a wonderful person. That is much like Joyful Noise, the new Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton flick about dueling choir directors and their families. Latifah can do no wrong in my book and you can’t help but like Parton. She pretty much plays herself in every role she plays, but she is so dog gone likeable.
Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson) is the choir director of Divinity Church in Pacashau, Georgia. Each year his choir enters, and loses, the Joyful Noise Gospel Music Competition. After he passes away from a heart attack, Pastor Dale (Courtney B. Vance) appoints Vi Rose Hill (Latifah) to be the new leader instead of Bernard’s wife, G. G. (Parton). Vi likes the more traditional music while G.G. likes to mix things up. Living practically as a single mother, Vi raises two teenagers on her own; Olivia (Keke Palmer) who is also a member of the choir and Walter (Dexter Darden) who struggles (unconvincingly) with Aspergers syndrome. G. G. Is all alone until her wayward grandson Randy (Jeremy Jordan) shows up and takes a shine to Olivia which furthers the struggle between the two choir mistresses.

Putting Latifah and Parton in sparring roles is pure genius. Their verbal assaults at one another is hilarious especially a food fight spat that shown in a diner. Like her real life counterpart, G.G. sports razor sharp fingernails, a plastic face incapable of frowning and tightly hemmed choir robe and pokes fun of herself. Her relatively good nature is a great foil against Vi’s uptight personality. Still, with all that spunk, Parton comes off a little fragile and the exchanges are too short.
The music, and there is a lot of it, is great. You already know that Dolly and Queen can sing, but Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee) and Jordan (in his first film role, but well known on Broadway) are a wonderful surprise. Kristofferson sings and appears only briefly. He actually speaks instead of sings much of his duet with Parton, which was disappointing. Other cast members are fellow Broadway stars that fill out the choir well.
Joyful Noise is best when it focuses on its main characters, but instead, it insists on taking on multiple storylines that somehow waters down rather than add to the film. Overall, the plot is rather cheesy but it has heart. Some scenes are genuinely touching and others are surprisingly realistic (don’t EVER tell Queen that she is not pretty!), but the overall it feels hollow. The message of hope and the need for Jesus in our lives is loud and clear, but the message is uneven. For instance, it’s not clear why Randy shows up in the first place. He’s presented as a “bad boy” who never enjoyed “church music” before meeting Olivia. By the end of the movie, we know that he has a good heart, but he doesn’t show any signs of a stronger faith.
Now a warning: Don’t go in thinking you’ll be seeing a good old-fashioned Christian movie. While the music is great, you won’t be hearing any familiar standards and at least half of the songs are versions of popular pop songs that aren’t necessarily spiritual, but they are uplifting. Noise is more liberal than most faith-based movies with mild language and adult situations. It’s not a story for young children.

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