6.5/10
314
7 user 1 critic

Breathing Lessons (1994)

PG | | Drama | TV Movie 6 February 1994
A married couple review their lives and renew their love for one another while driving to a friend's funeral.

Director:

John Erman

Writers:

Anne Tyler (book), Robert W. Lenski (teleplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Ira Moran
Joanne Woodward ... Maggie Moran
Kathryn Erbe ... Fiona
Joyce Van Patten ... Serena
Eileen Heckart ... Mabel
Paul Winfield ... Daniel Otis
Tim Guinee ... Jesse Moran
Henry Jones ... Sam
Stephi Lineburg ... Leroy
Debra Mooney ... Mrs. Stuckey
John Considine ... Durwood
Delphi Harrington ... Sugar
Jean Louisa Kelly ... Daisy
Kevin Thigpen Kevin Thigpen ... Lamont
Larry John Meyers Larry John Meyers ... Bodyshop Owner
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Storyline

A married couple review their lives and renew their love for one another while driving to a friend's funeral.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Breathing Lessons (#43.2) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last film of Henry Jones. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly Tyler-esque
10 June 2014 | by keanepersonSee all my reviews

As this is one of my favorite Anne Tyler novels and movie adaptations are usually disappointing, i was pleasantly surprised by this one. It's a cliché of movie promotion but Joanne Woodward IS Maggie Moran - from her somehow busybody-ish walk to her expressions of quizzical dismay, hopeful desperation etc. when her well-meaning plans for fixing someone's life go awry. Like rain and sun alternating as her mind races trying to save the situation; "...Maggie always trying to patch patch patch..." says Fiona.

James Garner* is OK as Ira; he greets Maggie's foibles with attitudes ranging from fond acceptance to dyspeptic irritation. Maybe it's just because i like Eileen Heckart but if anything her take on Mabel is better than the original character. Same for Debra Mooney as Mrs. Stuckey; her sidelong squinty-eyed dislike for all things Moran is something to see. And Delphi Harrington's brief appearance as Sugar; "Boys had always been fascinated by Sugar." - and i can see why. Maybe it's unfair to judge by my personal reading of Tyler, but some of the other characters seem to diverge farther and farther from the story; i just don't see Joyce Van Patten as the former bohemian bad girl of Maggie's & her youth, and what happened to the Barley twins? - they're now the Barlow twins and totally unrecognizable.

Then there's the music; it has a kindly naivete, a homey, ambling feel, a bit of whatever it is about Tyler's novels that i'm so enamoured of. The Moran house is very Tyler/Baltimore and the Stuckey place engagingly trashy; that hanging rain lamp is perfect. In this case i think it helps to have read the book for the background and history that wouldn't fit into a movie; how LeRoy's very existence is a consequence of Maggie's meddling for instance. For whatever reason i think this movie has more of that distinctive Tyler something than "The Accidental Tourist" or "Earthly Possessions".

* Search james garner ira on youtube for his take on Ira.


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