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Tedious? No way...this is a very insightful and well-crafted movie.
"Breathe In" is a film whose plot sounds a bit salacious. And, considering it's a rated R film, I was a bit apprehensive to see the movie. After all, the film is about a man who falls in love with the high school exchange student that he and his wife took into their home. However, the film turned out to be extremely well made and not at all what I expected. And, I have no idea why it's rated R, as the film has no nudity, violence and the language is awfully tame. Overall, it's well worth your time finding this film--and it's available as of this week with Netflix.
When the story begins, Keith Reynolds (Guy Pearce) and his wife Megan (Amy Ryan) seem to have a very good life. Their daughter is a pretty high school athlete, they have a lovely home in the suburbs and the marriage seems strong. All of this is shaken shortly after they take in Sophie (Felicity Jones)--an exchange student from Britain. You begin to notice that there are some problems in the Reynolds marriage. Keith is a frustrated musician who dreams of leaving his teaching job to be a full-time musician. However, Megan won't even consider this and insists that he must continue working to keep the family just as it is now. And, she is quite dismissive of his dreams and seems to have little desire to connect with his love of music. Here is where Sophie comes into the picture. She is a great pianist herself and loves Keith's music. She also encourages him with his dream of joining a great orchestra. So, as the film progresses, the pair become closer and closer. And so, when they begin to feel inappropriate feelings towards each other (especially since he is her teacher), it's not especially surprising and, in some ways, it's expected by the viewer. However, and this is important, the film is NOT meant as a romance or endorsement for middle-aged men to have sex with young exchange students. Instead, it's a character study about loneliness within a marriage--loneliness which may push someone to consider making some very stupid choices.
So why do I recommend the film? Well, the film is so well made in so many ways. The acting (particularly by Pearce and Jones) is so good because it seems so real. And, the director did a nice job of combining this acting, a nice and provocative script and some really wonderful emotive music into a great little package. I also liked it because it really makes you think and assess where you are in your life. It really struck close to home for me and my own marriage. For me, it was actually very affirming because my own wife went through a mid-life crisis like Keith Reynolds--wanting to give up a very lucrative career as an engineer to become a fiction writer. But, unlike Megan, I thought this was great. Sure, it might mean giving up a lot for the family so that she could follow her dream...but we also knew it would kill her if she didn't--and she is worth the sacrifice. And, in the end, we are all so much better for it--she is quite successful and the change has definitely been for the better for not just her but the entire family.
As I mentioned above, this film just came out on Netflix this week and is well worth seeing--particularly with your partner or other loved ones. Don't worry about the R rating--it's also fine for you to see with your teens or mother! I also noticed a reviewer who saw the film as tedious. Well, I sure didn't and it kept my interest throughout.
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