Breathe In

When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family's relationships and alters their lives forever.

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  • ★★★½ review by ellie on Letterboxd

    movie: stars a hot dad

    me: IM READY! frigging large popcorn! Hot dog! Damn slurpy dammit! Don't talk to me when I sit down to watch this! Don't touch me ! Don't breathe in my direction ! This is it!

  • ★★★★ review by Caitlin on Letterboxd

    Guy Pearce is aptly named because wow he really is... A Guy......... A Man ......

  • ★★★½ review by Jimbo on Letterboxd

    Further proof, as if it was needed, that Felicity Jones is the real deal.

  • ★★★½ review by Thomas Ringdal on Letterboxd

    On paper this is a story about the midlife crisis of a married man, stuck in a job he never wanted and a wife that's rather condecending towards his aspirations. Add Felicity Jones into the mix, and any man would crumble. But it is never her fault, directly. Sure, she's the faucet, if you will, the presence that presents him with motive, means and opportunity, but she never acts upon moments, more than reacts. Doremus has too much love for Jones to make her into the bad guy of any story, of course. And I myself of course love her to death. It's pretty silly, and not at all healthy, and as a result I am doomed to be forever alone.

    But as the story above unfolds, we are constantly introduced to classical sets, usually either through a piano or a string instrument of sorts, cello most of the time, to each and every scene. It's as much a love letter to music and musicians, or maybe artists is a better word, as it is a slow, delicate, deliberately paced picture of a desintegration of a family. The wife is played by Amy Ryan, and she is her usual steady self, helping to create the right environment for the story. I didn't care for the daughter at all, but the story wouldn't work without one, of course. Guy Pearce on the other hand is great in a type of role at least I haven't seen him in before.

    For a good hour or so, it gently floats along in a soothing fashion only to jolt us back into reality as the truth hits home across the table during the last third, and the fairytale is over.

    I'm no big fan of the ending myself, but it does have a certain bittersweet quality, and as much as I personally would enjoy a harmless peak under her sweater, the affair is beautiful and caressing and never gratuitous.

    A step back compared to Like Crazy it might be, but I will look out for Doremus' next project.

  • ★★★★½ review by Thomas McCallum on Letterboxd

    Performances: 8.5/10

    Story: 8.7/10

    Production: 9.6/10

    Overall: 8.93/10

    I'm not sure how I hadn't seen Breathe In until now. It premiered at Sundance in 2013 but it looks like it didn't get an actual US release date until march of this year. That release was certainly limited because I didn't even know about it. That's a damn shame, because this film is easily the best that I've seen this year, and I wouldn't be too shocked it still is come December.

    Similar to Like Crazy in tone, Breathe In follows the Reynolds family and their newly acquired exchange student Sophie, played beautifully by Felicity Jones in a way that made me seriously wonder how I haven't seen more of her. Guy Pearce plays Richie, the patriarch of the family, a concert cellist and music teacher. They're very subtle performances. There aren't always many words spoken, mostly there are glances. Looks, glares, small moments. All chopped up and put together in a way that doesn't need words to convey the emotions that these characters are going through. It's really brilliant to watch thanks to some flawless performances. Not to mention fantastic editing and gorgeous cinematography.

    Director Drake Doramus (say that five times fast) has proved that he wasn't a one hit wonder after winning the Grand Jury prize for 2011's Like Crazy. His almost documentary style of film making takes intimate moments and somehow amplifies them to the point where you almost feel bad you're witnessing these character's experiences. Combine that with Dustin O'Halloran's captivating score and you have yourself a visceral movie-going experience.

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