No-one is safe. Not even the perfect family. Keith (Guy Pearce) is a fortysomething music teacher, living in upstate New York with Megan (Amy Ryan), his wife of 17 years, and Lauren (Mackenzie Davis), their teenage daughter.
Megan collects cookie jars. Keith is auditioning for a full-time job with a prestigious orchestra. Lauren is in-yo-face sexy and yet doesn’t have the essential vibe recognition skills when it comes to boyfriends.
Enter a foreign exchange student from England, called Sophie (Felicity Jones), who is small, dark-haired and, unlike Lauren, not into the high school party scene, preferring her own company, or that of a more mature man, such as Keith.
The simplicity of director Drake Doremus’s script and the predictability of the plot takes nothing away from its intensity.
You can throw mid-life crisis at Keith and manipulative monkey business at Sophie, but neither sticks. What Breathe In has, in addition to integrity, is an understanding of blind faith and the reality of impossible dreams.
Their relationship evolves naturally and with unexpected fervour, ringing bells in the towers of destruction. Sophie conveys belief as well as innocence, awakening dormant feelings in the breast of a compromised romantic.
None of this is spoken. Emotions simmer in the restrictive environment of a small town, a respected marriage, a perfect family. Can passion be boxed? Are responsibilities illusory? Is the road open?
Sensitive performances, a haunting soundtrack and the refusal to add melted cheese into the mix makes this a precious gem of a movie.