MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 21,062 this week

Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien (1996)

 -  Documentary | Short
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 96 users  
Reviews: 5 user

Portrait of writer Mark O'Brien, who contracted polio as a child and spent much of his life in an iron lung.

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - Guardians of the Galaxy

In the latest episode of IMDb: What to Watch, Keith Simanton talks with director James Gunn and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel about their movie Guardians of the Galaxy.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 250 titles
created 28 Apr 2011
 
a list of 65 titles
created 16 Feb 2012
 
a list of 171 titles
created 02 Jan 2013
 
a list of 8378 titles
created 25 Mar 2013
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien (1996)

Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien (1996) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien.
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Misconception (2014)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: Jessica Yu
The Sessions (2012)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest.

Director: Ben Lewin
Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
American Dreams (2002–2005)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Set to the soundtrack of the '60s, a Philadelphia family moves toward the cultural upheaval in the years ahead. The Pryors' teen daughter Meg tries to shed her "good girl" image by hanging ... See full summary »

Stars: Gail O'Grady, Tom Verica, Brittany Snow
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This film documents the effects of a tragic bus accident on the population of a small town.

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Caerthan Banks
Documentary | Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A creative investigation of how the youth understand childbirth.

Director: Jessica Yu
Stars: Archie Archambo, Johnny Chavez, Jason Stuart
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Director: Jessica Yu
Stars: Issa Ibrahim, John C. Mapp, Janos Morton
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Mark O'Brien ...
Himself
...
Herself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ian Berzon ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

According to Mark O'Brien, "The two mythologies about disabled people break down to one: we can't do anything, or two: we can do everything. But the truth is, we're just human." O'Brien was a frequently published journalist and poet, and a contributor to National Public Radio. He contracted polio in childhood and, due to post-polio syndrome, spent much of his life in an iron lung. Yet for more than forty years, he fought against illness, bureaucracy and society's conflicting perceptions of disability for his right to lead an independent life. Breathing Lessons breaks down barriers to understanding by presenting an honest and intimate portrait of a complex, intelligent, beautiful and interesting person, who happens to be disabled. Incorporating the vivid imagery of O'Brien's poetry, and his candid, wry and often profound reflections on work, sex, death and God, this provocative film asks: what makes a life worth living? Written by Meredith Miller

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

iron lung | polio | poet | journalist | writer | See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Mark O'Brien: Everybody becomes disabled unless they die first.
See more »

Soundtracks

Piano by Sandra Tsing Loh
Guitar by Mike Miller
Cello by Mark Salzman
Cello improvisations by Mark Salzman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Live for not matter what your misfortune, condition or plight, you are so fortunate to have been given the opportunity!
25 February 2001 | by (North American Continent, Earth) – See all my reviews

This is an absolute exceptional film taking you into the mind, life, struggle, joy, depression, love, and eventual (beyond the film) death of a completely developed person but physically fully incapacitated.

Think of where most of us may find ourselves in the coming 30 to 50 years and you may see yourself in Brian's place though he was strickened so much earlier in life.

Thank Jessica for doing a superb performance in documenting this person's life. Will never forget her remarks at the Academy Awards where she so humbly remarked (and I paraphrase) that it was indeed a gala where the dress you were wearing to it cost more than what it cost to make the film.

And thank you Brian!


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page