Breathe is a directional debut from Andy Serkis, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. It’s based on a true story which delves into the relationship of Robin and Diana Cavendish, a couple who ended up pioneering the treatment for polio back in the mid-20th century.
The film does a great job of guiding you through this relationship of two people who supported each other through so much. We begin by getting to see how the two of them met and for a time their love for each other really does seem like something out of a fairytale. However, at age 28 Robin is diagnosed with polio and becomes paralysed from the waist down, requiring a mechanical respirator to live.
Now back then this meant that you would be bedridden for life and what’s worse is no sufferer of polio would be allowed outside of the hospital. As if it’s not bad enough to be stricken with such an unforgiving disease, you would also be subjected to staring at the same four walls and that hospital room would ultimately become your prison. But Diana refused to accept such a bleak future for her husband and with the help of friends, relatives, she managed to find a way for him to live outside of the hospital grounds.
It’s a truly incredible story that’s handled with great care and told respectfully. When it comes to a lot of films which claim to be based on true events, a lot of the film can be so highly dramatized that it’s almost unrecognisable. But when the credits began to roll and I saw that the Cavendish’s son Jonathan had produced the film, I found it so much easier to believe that the film’s depiction was a credible one.
Andrew Garfield turns in another strong performance and I remember the first time he ever stood out for me was in David Fincher’s The Social Network. One scene in particular actually it was a confrontation scene if you’ve seen the film I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about. His on-screen presence was fantastic, so much so that it seemed to give me chills in fact! But then he got involved in rebooting Spider Man and to be honest I felt as though he was lost to us, because usually when an actor puts their name to a major superhero franchise like that, we don’t get to see them in much else for a long time.
Recently though he’s been knocking it out of the park with his role in Hacksaw Ridge, he had the chance to work alongside Martin Scorsese on Silence which came out earlier this year. I mean let’s face it if you get to the point in your acting career where you can credit yourself as playing a lead role in a Martin Scorsese film, surely there are no more doubts to be had, you’ve made it!
Claire Foy was also very good and as directional debuts go, Andy Serkis certainly could have done a lot worse. I went to see the film with my girlfriend and to be honest I think it’s a wonderful film for couples to see together, it’s inspiring, romantic and gets an ICM Film rating of 7.8.