Breathe is the story of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) who, after contracting polio and requiring a respirator to breathe, became a disability rights’ activist seeking to end the practice of hiding people with disabilities away from normal life. Despite serious challenges he lived life to the full thanks to the incredible support of his wife Diana (Claire Foy) – who refused to give up on him or let him give up on himself – and the film is incredibly uplifting, while not shying away from the reality of his situation. Jonathan Cavendish (Robin and Diana’s real life son) is the film’s producer and Andy Serkis directed it.
There’s a great supporting cast with Hugh Bonneville playing a slightly eccentric but brilliant inventor who comes up with a wheelchair respirator that means Robin is no longer restricted to lying in bed. Stephen Mangan plays a warm-hearted doctor who wants his patients to have a better quality of life, beyond simply keeping people alive.
Tom Hollander plays Diana’s twin brothers (Bloggs and David Blacker) and he brings lots of humour to the roles and to the film. The brothers bicker constantly, but affectionately, but Tom also has some great reaction shots to the slightly odd things happening on the screen (no spoilers). You should go and see if it you can!
There’s a nice article on the depiction of twins in film which includes Tom’s roles: Double Duty. “Playing against himself “required extraordinary technique from Tom, who really is a virtuoso actor,” notes Serkis.”
If you’re in the UK here’s how to find a screening near you…
IMDb helpfully now includes showtimes on the film’s main page which I assume are linked to your location (I see showtimes for London). If the film’s not yet released where you are (you can check the various release dates for different locations) then you might not see this information yet. You can select a different country location and post / ZIP code though.
The LondonNet website also lists both the alphabeticised ‘A-Z of films showing in London‘ and ‘A-Z of films showing in the UK and Irish cinemas‘. Here’s the London page for Breathe (regular screenings, see other options below).
At 7pm on Monday 30th October there’s a screening plus Q&A at The Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise.
There are a variety of other types of screenings, look out for these. There was also an autism-friendly screening in Woking on Friday 27th October (the day of the film’s release in the UK and I believe the US too) but I don’t know of any others at the moment.