Close to heart - 'Breathe' film review

A film about a man paralysed from the neck down seems like a strange debut for the motion capture director. However, after learning that Andy Serkis' had a family member that suffered with a terminal illness, and that his mother taught disabled children for most of her life, it became clear it was a perfect fit.

Breathe (2017)

It is also the true story of producer Jon Cavendish's parents, who is a long time friend and colleague of Serkis, and it had me in floods.

Admittedly I am a very emotional person with an existential rumination ever other day, but this film had me in floods. It found in me a sort-of deep, devastating sadness, unmatched by surface level sadness that occurs when you didn’t get that job you wanted.

Despite the doomed situation, brilliant dry British humour always shines through the piece via the characters of Jonathan’s parents (played brilliantly by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy). They present the enduring and unconditional sort of love that belongs in fairy tales which you would be hard-pressed to find in today’s fast-exchange society.

The story is a very intimate and personal one, but it is presented in a very grand way. Expensive, Hollywood-esque looking shots actually took away from the story. Such is the nature of Andy Serkis’ directorial work perhaps, but the story is so powerful on it’s own and from a truthful source so close to the piece. A more modest style of filming would’ve given it a more sincere feel.

That being said, it is a heartfelt and important piece, that can inspire audiences to handle awful situations with a level-head and a bit of humour.