4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director Drake Doremus
Starring Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones and Amy Ryan
Recommended to Those looking for a gorgeous and heartbreaking piece of modern cinema.
Keith Reynolds (Guy Pearce) is a high school music teacher who occasionally subs for a Manhattan symphony. He has long dreamed of being a full-time musician, but his wife, Megan (Amy Ryan) and Lauren, his daughter, have always come first. Now that Lauren is about to graduate from high school Keith is propelled to fulfill his dreams, but Megan is resistant and unsupportive. So when Sophie (Felicity Jones), a beautiful and talented exchange student, comes to stay with the Reynolds Keith cannot help but be drawn to her.
Ive never been a fan of films that ask the audience to root for infidelity. The notion that true love is more important that responsibility is romantic; it is also selfish. Perhaps this is why Ive always been drawn to films like The Age of Innocence and The End of the Affair where the romance either doesnt ever happen or is cut short by a sense of decency and sacrifice. Still, Sophie is a hauntingly beautiful, almost idealized, lover. She is a mixture of wisdom, naivety and charm. All of this comes courtesy of Felicity Jones brilliant performance. Shes so easy to fall in love with. And Keith, the self-sacrificing father figure whose talents are seemingly unappreciated by his wife, is a tragic figure filled with mystery and a sense of remorse. This makes him all the more appealing to the young and impressionable Sophie. The fact that hes faithful to his marriage and therefore off limits plays a role as well. Guy Pearce plays these layers perfectly.
I spent the majority of Breathe In silently pleading with Keith not to fall in love with Sophie. I implored him to think of his family, to not throw away 18 years for something that might only last for a season. I did this knowing it was already too late for him and for me; we were already deeply in love with Sophie. Of course this love of ours was always doomed and director Drake Doremus is wise enough not to let us down gently.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2013Sinclair Broadcast Group)