Breathe In Blu-ray Review

The family gathers for a portrait outside. They all have smiles on their faces, but not all is well with this supposed perfect unit. BREATHE IN is an intimate portrait of a family that is teetering on the edge. You don’t really see it at first, but the problems are there.

Guy Pearce plays Keith Reynolds. He is a music teacher at high school and sometime sub for the symphony. He aches to play for the symphony fulltime and move back to New York. Amy Ryan is his wife Megan Reynolds. She seems content in the countryside. She likes to collect cookie jars as her hobby. Mackenzie Davis is their daughter Lauren Reynolds. She is a good swimmer in high school, but personal issues are bubbling at the surface with her.

Breathe In

Into this family dynamic comes exchange student Sophie (the excellent Felicity Jones) to stay with them for the semester. She arrives from the UK unsure of herself and her way in this world. She is a classically trained pianist, but she doesn’t know if she wants to play anymore after the death of her uncle.

We get to see the problems early on in the car. Keith has a later audition to become a fulltime member of the symphony. Megan first describes Keith’s playing in the symphony as a hobby. This doesn’t go over well with him. Sophie then asks him if he would quit his job as a teacher if he joined the symphony. He says yes, while Megan says no. The tension in the car could be cut with the knife.

Breathe In 2

Director/Screenwriter Drake Doremus does an amazing job of showing the audience human emotion without dialogue. Sometimes he uses music and other times it is just pure silence. Sophie has Keith as her teacher in a music class. He tells her to play something to introduce herself to the class. At first her playing is soft and haunting. And then she shifts it up a notch and batters you with lightning fast work. All this time Keith is mesmerized. He is clearly taken in by the beginning and blown away by the end. It is like his world has been opened up to him on the possibilities of his life. He must be pondering what he is doing as a lowly teacher. He clearly wants to go back to his garage band days and breathe in the music once again and feel alive.

Breathe In

Megan though is not fond of those early days of little money and cockroaches. She is comfortable with going to swim meets and carpooling the girls on the team around. Megan is not blind to what is going on with Sophie and Keith. She sees the glances and admiration in Keith’s voice when talking of Sophie’s playing. It is this inner torment that is so fascinating to watch. It is almost like she is powerless to do anything.
Lauren in the beginning is glad that Sophie has come to stay with them. She introduces her to her friends. She tells her about her relationship with Ryan (Brendan Dooling) and that she had sex with him. Lauren was upset when Ryan blabbed about the encounter, but she still holds a torch for him. Later when Sophie wants to go into Manhattan with Ryan and supposedly a group of other people, Lauren says it is all right. She has no feelings for him. But if you listen closely, she does have feelings for the guy.

I don’t want to give away too much of what happens. Sure some of it is a bit predictable. But it always felt real. The ending was edited brilliantly with the four different characters reacting in vastly different ways to what has gone on.

BREATHE IN does a very good job in showing how one person can affect an entire family and their mindset. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. That is how life is.


Video: The scenes in the beginning were a bit too dark. It got better as the movie progressed.

Audio: At times the sound seemed too low or muffled. Other times it was quite clear and audible.

The Making of Breathe In (9:35): Doremus, Ryan and Pearce discuss the film. There is a section of improvising which Pearce was not accustomed to. The director talks about getting to the truth in these scenes and how he enjoyed the quiet moments with no dialogue.

Exclusive Interview with Director Drake Doremus (3:47): The director gets into his favorite scene and how the two main characters were kindred spirits. He also states his admiration for Felicity Jones.


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