LFF 2017: Every Life Is Worth Living In The Beautifully Inspiring Breathe

Credit: STXinternational

Movies that are based on true events are usually the ones that move us the most. Breathe is no exception when it comes to that and you definitely will need tissues when you head to the movie theaters to watch it.

It is 1958 when Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) meets Diana Blacker (Claire Foy) and immediately falls in love with her. Diana is known as a heartbreaker and people warn Robin of her, telling him that he will never have a chance with her. Nevertheless, the former heartbreaker falls for the charming man and ends up marrying him. Shortly after their wedding, they move to Nairobi where Robin works as a tea broker. Diana becomes pregnant and their life could not have been any more perfect. Robin suddenly becomes ill and is diagnosed with polio. It leaves him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own. Only a machine that does the breathing for him keeps him alive.

Unable to see her husband wishing for his own death while he’s stuck in the hospital, Diana wants to do something to make his life a little better. The only thing Robin wants is to get out of the hospital and to go home. So, Diana makes his wish come true. With the help of her two twin brothers (both played by Tom Hollander), a doctor and a nurse, they manage to go home and set up the machine there after being at the hospital for a year.

After seeing his son play with his stroller in the garden one day, Robin gets the idea of a wheelchair which has a breathing machine build in, so he can enjoy life outside his home’s walls. The family friend Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville) helps him to do so. Hall invents a wheelchair with a built-in respirator that finally allows Robin to go outside again.

With the new invention, Robin and Diana are able to travel across Europe and show the people what a severely disabled person is able to do without being restricted to the hospital.

Watch the trailer below to get swept away with this inspiring love story.

Breathe starts out as a fairytale. You really wish Robin and Diana could have lived their happy lives like this till the end. Breathe also tells the story of no matter what your life turns out to be, it is worth living for and that it is your own choice how you want to spend it. The Cavendishs did something that was unthinkable at the time. Robin lived much longer than any doctor had expected. He lived through Diana’s love for him and Breathe is truly inspirational. It is, however, obvious that they could not have done a lot of things without the help of their friends and family. This makes their story even more inspiring, as it shows what you can do no matter what happens to you.

Andrew Garfield delivers a fantastic performance as Robin Cavendish. It is remarkable how he brings him back to life. Due to his illness, Robin was incapable of moving anything from his neck down. As Garfield pointed out, he had to express a lot through his eyes. Andrew Garfield did just that. He could say a lot with just one glance. The work he put into this character is also something that should not be unnoticed, as he had to change the way he was breathing, in order to match it with the machine and make it believable, which also influenced the way he was speaking. There was one scene in the movie where Robin actually had no breath left to speak properly. It must have taken a lot to actually depict this as an actor. Garfield was simply amazing as Robin and deserves every attention for his depiction that he can get.

Next to Andrew Garfield, it was also Claire Foy’s time to shine as the loving and caring Diana Cavendish, who was determined to give the love of her life his life back. Foy is an expert of saying a lot with just one look. It especially showed Diana’s determination in the cause of the story. She loved him dearly and the audience could see that with everything Diana did for her husband. She never did anything because she had to – she could have let him die and leave early on – but she never did because she loved Robin so much. With her love, he lived and it couldn’t have been truer, which Foy’s performance showed. Foy was a joy to watch as Diana. She couldn’t have done a better job telling Diana’s story and depicting her love for Robin along with determination to make his life worth living for.

Tom Hollander was also someone that could easily be forgotten in the movie, even though he played two characters. He shouldn’t be, however, as his influence on Robin and Diana’s story was rather big. Even though, both of his characters were against Diana marrying Robin, they soon started to love their new brother. They helped Diana a lot to enhance Robin’s quality of life again. It was heartbreaking in the end, after they said their goodbyes with a bit of a laughter, to see them break down and show their real emotion.

Despite the very serious topic and despite their hardships, Robin and Diana never gave up, which was mostly due to her determination. They never lost their humor. It was a beautiful contrast to the seriousness of their lives.

Breathe is definitely a highlight of this year’s movie season and shouldn’t be missed. Though, you might want to take a few tissues with you to the movies.

During the London Film Festival, Breathe will celebrate its European Premiere. It will then hit theaters in the UK on October 27. In the US, Breathe is going to be released on October 13th.

Anna Hattingen
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