Friday, 24 January 2014

Film review: BREATHE IN

Directed by Drake Doremus


If this film were a person, it wouldn’t be a very humorous person. It could occasionally crack a decent joke and grind out a half-genuine smile, but overall it would be far too in love with its own voice and its mirror image to bother with something as basic and revealing as humour.

Which is not to say that Breathe In isn’t a fine film. It is. It’s so fine it hurts. Precise acting, gorgeous camera work and a very stylish, dream-like world that almost threatens to choke on its own solemnity. In this world  Keith Reynolds (expertly played by Guy Pearce), a disillusioned piano teacher with a lovely wife and an equally lovely daughter, hosts an exchange student from Britain in his beautiful house not far from New York. The girl is played by Felicity Jones with all the unspoken desire and shy allure that this role needs. The passion sparkled is decidedly understated (there’s always music, of course), but Sophie’s impact on this American family is not. It’s through a few clichés and rather predictable plot twists that we reach the end, but the film gets by through style, acting and perfect execution. 

Breathe In is ultimately an art for art’s sake experience. Calculated, worthy, mildly intriguing and, sadly, rather low on guts. But then the crisis it’s describing is a delicate matter, and it’s always hard to decide what to touch and when to lay off. American Beauty went over the top with it, Breathe In forgot to tell you a joke lest it should be in bad taste.

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