March 25, 2015

Breathe (2014)

Breathe (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Mélanie Laurent
Country: France

Movie Review: As a psychological coming-of-age drama, “Breathe”, the second feature from actress turned director, Mélanie Laurent, doesn’t let us down. Laurent shared the writing credits with another French actor, Julien Lambroschini, basing herself on the bestselling novel of the same name by Anne Sophie-Brasme. The film is a refreshing tale of poisoned friendship between two teenage girls, depicted with solid emotional contours, but somehow penalizing the whole with a finale that seemed too brusque and easy for me. Josephine Japy plays the 17-year-old Charlene aka Charlie, who finds solace in the company of her loyal group of school friends since at home she’s restless due to their parents’ bitter relationship. When the seductive and easy talker, Sarah, impeccably performed by Lou de Laage, arrives for the first time, Charlie seemed conquered by her apparent freedom and self-assured posture. While Charlie willingly shares her most inner secrets with Sarah, the latter will do exactly the opposite, concealing aspects of her private life that are anything but cheerful or motivating. Can this life be an excuse for Sarah’s intolerable behavior toward Charlie? Her game consisted, basically, of manipulative moves, taking whatever she wants, and then unthankfully moving away again, avoiding and despising who helped her. This contemptuous falsity was successfully depicted, drawing an inevitable irritation that makes us take the side of Charlie when tragedy occurs. An oppressive suffocation (valid for both characters) can be distinctly felt throughout the film – the continual attempts to understanding what’s going on, emotional shakiness, an asthma crisis, an urgent open of a window, or a terrifying conclusion – all of them require a deep breathe.

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