Breathe is one of those true-life, feel-good flicks that crowds love and critics tolerate. It’s not a bad movie. In fact, much of the film is enjoyable and in parts quite inspirational.
In 1958, Robin Cavendish contracted Polio and had to be on a respirator the remainder of his life. Still a young man, Cavendish at first wanted to die, but his wife Diana pushed him to not only want to live but convinced him to break out of the sanatorium that offered Cavendish a different kind of death.
Free of the hospital’s confines, Cavendish became a very vocal advocate for the rights of the disabled, and in conjunction with his friend Teddy Hall invented wheel chairs with portable ventilators that allowed him to move about and still breathe. It forever changed the quality of life of quadriplegics and other disabled individuals whose lives were all but over.
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man, Hacksaw Ridge) does Cavendish much like Eddie Redmayne played physicist Stephen Hawking. He relies solely on facial expression and a killer smile to sell the role. He’s pretty good, but the film is stolen by Claire Foy (TV’s The Crown) who plays his bride. It’s a deep, difficult role that requires multiple emotions stretching from stoic to tearful, and sometimes she has to run the entire emotional gamut in one scene. Look for award nominations for her work and probably for Garfield’s and since Hollywood tends to love this kind of film, one or two for actor-turned-director Andy Serkis (The Planet of the Apes).
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The first three-quarters of the film works and I loved it. Then Serkis wraps up Cavendish’s life and heaps on the sap. It wasn’t necessary and instead of making it sad, the film becomes uncomfortable. Then it implodes and runs out of breath.
Movie name: ‘Breathe’
Director: Andy Serkis
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.