Biography Breathe

'Breathe' TIFF 2017 Review: Andy Serkis' directorial debut brings inspiration and unexpected levity

September 11, 2017Justin Waldman

Best known for his motion capture work behind-the-scenes, Andy Serkis tries on a different hat as he sits in the director’s chair for Breathe, a filmmaking debut that manages to take audiences' breath away, thanks to Serkis' discipline and honing of the craft.

Based on the true story of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and how, despite being stricken by polio and paralyzed from the neck down, he was able to live life to the fullest, Breathe showcases a pair of remarkable performances. Garfield's turn as a man who has every right to be miserable and angry at life, yet who transforms that attitude into one of hope, is truly inspiring. Meanwhile, Claire Foy’s portrayal of his loving wife, Diana, who motivated her husband in the face of grim times, is as heartfelt as the message the movie conveys throughout.

Together, Garfield and Foy share an undeniable on-screen chemistry that also allows them to bring surprising levity to an otherwise serious story. Coupled with an affecting screenplay by William Nicholson and an incredibly strong directorial debut from Serkis, the pair's powerhouse lead performances make Breathe a must-see film.

Breathe is receiving its world premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Gala Presentations programme. Its runtime is 1 hr. 57 min.

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