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Breathe - Film Review (Cunard British Film Festival 2017)

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by Michelle Ryan (subscribe)
I'm a freelance travel writer, wife, mum 3 grown children, artist and travel the world hiking! Check out my site at
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I haven’t seen a film this enjoyable in a long time

I haven't seen a film this enjoyable in a long time and found it so refreshing to watch something not "Hollywood Style". This film is a true story about a man, a woman and their love not only for each other but for life. Robin (Andrew Garfield) having recently married Diana (Claire Foy) and at the time living in Kenya when he was struck down with Polio in 1958 at the young age of 28. This crippling disease leaving him paralysed from the neck down and unable to breathe for himself. Robin was given only 3 months to live.

The opening scenes are very typically British in 1957 with the men all dressed in their cricket whites and the ladies sitting enjoying a cocktail in the sun. This is the start of when you first get to know Robin Cavendish's charismatic and whimsical personality, it is also where he meets his future wife Diana for the first time. Throughout the first portion of the film you are briefly shown their whirlwind romance, not drawing you too much into it, and before you know it they are married and in Kenya where Cavendish is working as a tea broker. It's here where you start to see their romance and love for each other a little more with them dancing under the sunburnt skies and snuggling around the open campfires. This is also where the story takes a turn to what the film is all about, now the audience is drawn into the real-life journey that this young couple are about to live.

I felt that Garfield had a tough role to play and his performance was just outstanding considering he spends most of the movie paralysed from the neck down and yet his unlimited facial expressions gives him such a full character that he really pulls off well.

As for Foy who plays Diana, she does this exceptionally well without taking the limelight off Garfield which I feel could have quite easily happened with the direction of the story turning into one about her strength and courage that she so clearly had.

This is a true story of remarkable strength that one man can have with the support of a very devoted, loving and determined wife as well as from committed family and friends. A story that screams DON'T GIVE UP on what you believe is possible no matter what.

Throughout this film, you are taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions from heartache, frustration, laughter, joy and even anger. It is a rare film that can draw one in as this film does with all these emotions and yet you don't go into their personal day to day life, which I think would have detracted from the story being told.

Robin (Garfield) is a man of great character who is smart, funny, charismatic and very adventurous. His personality is one that you can't help but be pulled into and love. His love for Diana (Foy) is so real and strong as is her love for him and shows how powerful love can really be. These two have a bond that is very real and deep, one that will conquer all if needs to and this was evident from the moment Robin was struck down with this illness.

I personally loved Cavendish's cheeky smile and flicker in his eye when he would say, "let's escape" as you knew he was about to do something that most would never imagine possible to do back then or even now. Like escaping from the hospital that he was confined to for around a year, defying all orders from the doctors as he chooses to live at home. When that wasn't enough, having his friend and inventor, Teddy Hall, develop a revolutionary wheelchair with respirator in tow so he could 'escape' outside. He then even pushed his limits further by heading on holiday in Spain, again with respirator in tow, though this was not without complications at all. This is a man that defied all odds and medical belief by becoming the longest man in history to live with Polio in Great Britain and living to the age of 64! Throughout his life, he became a great advocate for the seriously disabled and to me he gave them a voice.

The Cunard British Film Festival is held around the country throughout October.
• Perth - October 25th – November 15th
• Sydney – October 24th – November 15th
• Adelaide – October 25th – November 15th
• Canberra – October 25th – November 15th
• Brisbane – October 25th – November 15th
• Melbourne – October 26th – November 15th.

Click the link for your nearest cinema details and showing times.

Andy Serkis- his feature directorial debut. The actor and director is best known for his voice of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes among other roles.

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) plays Robin Cavendish
• Claire Foy (The Crown) plays Diana Cavendish
• Tom Hollander
• Hugh Bonneville
• Diana Rigg
• Ed Speleers
• Dean-Charles Chapman

• Two-time Oscar nominee William Nicholson (Gladiator, Shadowlands)

Produced in partnership with independent film producer John Cavendish, (Robin and Diana's Son), best known for his work on Bridget Jones Diary and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
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*Michelle Ryan was invited as a guest
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