Movie Review: Breathe

Last week with my travel to Charleston, South Carolina (Lowcountry Boil), I enjoyed viewing an in-flight movie on the return trip home to Oklahoma.  When I travel for work I typically dedicate my outbound travel to preparing for the offsite meeting.  On the first leg of the return trip home, the time is dedicated to follow-up action items gained from attending the meeting.  The final leg of a work trip is personal time, spent reading, quiet time, or viewing an in-flight movie.  This last leg of most of my work trips is usually from Atlanta to Oklahoma City, or “OAK CITY” as referenced by most pilots.  This leg of the journey has less than 2 hours flight time, and this time restraint generally dictates the viewing selection.

The last movie selection of the travel week was Breathe.  Breathe is a 2017 biographical drama film directed by Andy Serkis, from a screenplay written by William Nicholson.  This movie is based on a true story about a man, Robin Cavendish, paralyzed from his neck down from contracting polio at the young age of 28.  The story is the ultimate love story about how his wife, Diana Cavendish, stands by him at a time in history where most people with this type of health affliction spend the remainder of their life in hospital or long-term care facility.  Against the time, and the odds, Diana takes him home and adjusts to life with a paralyzed husband and a new born baby.  During this period many handicap accessibility tools were not developed, or even imagined, for accommodating a person living outside the hospital.  Believing that a person could live a meaningful life with such severe paralysis was not a common practice.

Andre Garfield is Robin Cavendish, the lead actor, in this film. I do not recall viewing him in prior movies and found him to be talented and charming in this movie.  Playing the part of a paralyzed person must require significant concentration and dedication to the part.  To deliver charm with only words and limited movement is an accomplishment.  Claire Foy plays the part of Diana Cavendish and she is a very pretty, and talented English actress.

What I found most enjoyable about the movie was the lesson to live, and to “really” live life despite serious limitations.  On a personal note, my mother suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and was ultimately confined to a wheelchair and eventually to her bed prior to her passing late 2016.  I can appreciate how difficult it is to be trapped in one’s body yet have a full mental awareness of the situation. This type of confinement can be very lonely and depressing.  Having the complete awareness that you are fully dependent on others to do everything for you is a challenge that most of us cannot fully understand.

This movie struck a chord with me recalling the struggles my mother endured as her body became more paralyzed over time.  My mother longed to be a part of everyday excursions, and even in her limited mobility, desired mostly to be with other people.  This movie did not necessarily highlight the daily challenges that a paralyzed person faces for simple tasks, but it did spotlight what it truly means to love someone in sickness and in health.

We live in a time where the medical field has many technological advances to assist people with physical and other health limitations.  These advancements may help accommodate individuals with physical disabilities, but we can never underestimate the significance of human companionship, touch, and love.

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