Breathe In takes a simple premise and makes a refreshing change compared to most of what’s out there.
Guy Pearce plays Keith Reynolds, a music teacher with a punishing autumn schedule coming up as well as an audition for a chair in an orchestra. If he gets it, then he can kiss goodbye to the endless hassle of dealing with unruly students and, basically, follow his dream for a living.
Around the same time, exchange student Sophie (up-and-coming British starlet Felicity Jones) coming to stay with the family – him, his wife Megan (Amy Ryan) and their daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis). Sophie is due to be in Keith’s music class, but decides to pull out without letting him know, which creates a little bit of tension, but is not the main focus of the plot. That is the sexual tension that builds between them, and the question of will-they-won’t-they get together, knowing it’s, morally, the wrong thing to do.
However, if nothing did happen, then there wouldn’t be much of a film. So, given that you know there will be something going on, the build-up is slight and incremental. And perfectly timed. Yes, it’s a slow-moving piece of work, but the performances of the two leads judge it perfectly, with great backing from Ryan and Davis.
Before Keith’s audition for the orchestra chair, there’s a scene where Sophie goes into his room while he’s working, and while standing at the door, she asks him to relax, then breathe in through his nose and out through his mouth. And repeat a few times. Hence, the rather tenuous title, but it’s as good as any.
It has the kind of premise which a typical Hollywood studio would turn into a dull revenge movie, the likes of which we’ve seen a million times. So I’m glad it wasn’t a typical Hollywood studio who produced it.
Breathe In is minimalist in terms of plot, but makes for a delightful watch with wonderful classical piano music pieces.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and has no defects on the print, looking as stunning as the music which accompanies it.
And that audio comes in DTS HD 5.1 option. It’s not a special FX film, obviously, but the music comes across crystal clear.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the presentation of the disc, there’s nothing to shout about – just a Trailer (2:33), which makes it look more fast-paced than it is, and I feel gives away more than it should – so just avoid this and watch the film instead – and a brief Interview (11:48) with director Drake Doremus and lead actress Felicity Jones, who I learned from IMDB also worked together on 2011’s Like Crazy, so that’s a must to check out. However, apart from the fact that Drake seems to do 90% of the talking – while Felicity sits ther patiently waiting for the world to turn – this interview is a very bite-sized made-for-TV piece and looks like the kind of thing you’d get if they were being interviewed by BBC Breakfast. Where are the deleted scenes? Screen tests? Outtakes? A proper making-of? What a shame.
The menu a shot of Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones standing by a lake, the importance of which will be shown as you watch the film, while incidental music plays in the background.
There are no subtitles. Why? They were present in a recent Curzon release, A Late Quartet.
Another disappointment – the usual woeful chaptering you get from most studios these days – just 12. Very lazy. Also, before the menu appears, you get a promo for Curzon themselves. No-one wants these. We are not in the age of rental video.
Overall, Breathe In is a wonderful piece of entertainment if you enjoy watching a slow-paced movie play itself out in front of you. However, if you’re not going to watch it on a regular basis then I can only recommend a rental as there’s precious little in the way of supplementals.
Running time: 98 minutes
Released: October 7th 2013
Director: Drake Doremus
Producers: Steven M Rales, Mark Roybal, Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling
Screenplay: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Music: Dustin O’Halloran
Keith Reynolds: Guy Pearce
Sophie: Felicity Jones
Megan Reynolds: Amy Ryan
Lauren Reynolds: Mackenzie Davis
Aaron: Matthew Daddario
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.