Film review | Breathe In – Felicity Jones & Guy Pearce strike a chord in sensitive indie drama

Breathe In - Felicity Jones & Guy Pearce

English rose Felicity Jones and American indie director Drake Doremus, star and director of bittersweet romance Like Crazy, reunite for an absorbing drama in which an outsider shakes up the lives of an outwardly happy family.

Jones’s exchange student, Sophie, stirs up unfulfilled longings in Guy Pearce’s frustrated musician, Keith, who yearns to exchange life as a high-school music teacher in suburban Westchester County for a cellist’s chair with a top New York symphony orchestra. With his wife (Amy Ryan) sniping at his ambitions from the sidelines, and his daughter  (Mackenzie Davis) going through her own romantic turmoil at school, Keith finds himself drawing perilously close to the soulful and talented Sophie…

Older man, younger woman? This could easily be clichéd or icky, or worse. Fortunately, Doremus handles the pair’s relationship with restraint and his leads, improvising their dialogue, deliver terrific performances, their characters’ emotional connection heightened by John Gulesarian’s striking cinematography and Dustin O’Halloran’s plangent score.

True, Breathe In does get rather melodramatic and overwrought towards the end, and one whopping coincidence almost derails the plot completely, but for the most part this is a sensitive, intelligent and captivating drama.

In cinemas from Friday 19th July.


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