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From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Subject: Review: Breathe (2017)
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Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2017 04:23:55 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: Review: Breathe (2017)
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
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               (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: This is a true story. Stricken with polio and 
    a prognosis of only three months to live, Robin Cavendish 
    must first overcome his death wish.  He then attacks his 
    problem that he must live in hospital with an immovable 
    respirator.  With the help of friends he engineers a way 
    to live at home and then to actually move around.  His 
    engineering solutions improved the lives of thousands of 
    polio victims.  Andy Serkis's directorial debut is a 
    moving paean to the human spirit and the possibilities 
    of engineering.  Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) or 8/10

BREATHE is the true story of Robin Cavendish (played by Andrew 
Garfield).  At the age of 28 he was living a particularly active 
(perhaps posh) life and thoroughly enjoying himself and his 
newlywed wife Diane (Claire Foy).  Diane was pregnant with his 
child.  The good life came to a sudden crashing end when Robin 
started falling down and being in pain.  He became paralyzed from 
the neck down, the victim of polio.  His life was predicted to last 
only another three months. In deep depression he let it be known 
that he had a strong preference for death over being imprisoned in 
a respirator in the hospital.  He made clear his unhappiness to 
Diane, his wife, who never stopped loving him.

The machinery did his breathing for Robin, but he could do little 
more than stare at the ceiling.   Strictly forbidden from taking 
any action he decided he wanted to go home and acquired a 
respirator he could use at home.  This had never been done before.  
And the three-month estimate of his survival time was reduced to 
two weeks.  Instead, his condition improved with the slight change 
of scenery.  He could stare at another ceiling and he could commune 
with his friends, one of whom was an amateur engineer.  Together 
they designed new equipment to improve the lot of Robin and in 
general people in respirators.  That friend is played by Hugh 
Bonneville who played the head of the household in "Downton Abbey."

Robin's next idea for improving his condition was to have a 
respirator built into a wheel chair.  With this he could actually 
travel.  In the end, Robin's ingenuity would improve the life of 
thousands of polio victims.

For Andy Serkis's directorial debut he has chosen to make a film 
very different from the special effects-laden films he is best 
known for.  With the exception of the mushiness of the film's use 
of Cole Porter's "True Love" the film creates a level of tenderness 
in the love of the two Cavendishes for each other.  This is a side 
of Serkis we never expected.

Claire Foy is fine as Diane, but Garfield may have a little trouble 
getting American audience sympathy playing a somewhat toffee-nosed 
patrician.  But that is not necessarily a fault.  It is better the 
characters not be so cute as perhaps they might be in GIFTED.  And 
if they still seem too loveable realize that the boy in the film 
grew up to produce this film.

I rate BREATHE a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 8/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper