What begins as a dull competition over what could be more British – Andrew Garfield’s cheeriness or director Andy Serikis’ colorfully drab opening scenes—turns into a surprisingly engaging drama about a dude who contracts polio and defies the odds by living for several more decades. Breathe is a less-powerful and less-well done version of The Theory of Everything (and about a less-interesting person), but it’s a suitably decent biopic nonetheless.
Garfield turns in a fine performance as Robin Cavendish, though given that there is a lot of talk about his potential as an Oscar nominee I’d point out we’ve seen him in better, more compelling roles. Claire Foy, as his wife, is arguably better, though in reality the acting matches the quality of the movie—it’s good, but by no means breathtaking.
Breathe is a pretty routine biopic, and goes about the route you’d expect for a movie about a guy who becomes paralyzed but learns how to deal with his situation as best he can. There is little to truly love but little to hate. The end result is a crowd-pleasing, occasionally melodramatic tale that gets increasingly better as it goes along. It won’t win many awards, but that’s okay.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.