Saturday, March 22, 2014

Breathe In (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

NY Film Critics
Takes a Fresh Breath
With “Breathe In”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

After seeing “The Invisible Woman” wouldn’t you like to meet Felicity Jones, that young British actress who played Charles Dickens’s mistress? She’s anything but invisible right now, also appearing in “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Like Crazy” and TV’s “Girls.”

Well, you can meet her … sorta.

This month’s offering from the special showings by the NY Film Critics is “Breathe In,” a romantic drama (would that be a rom-dram?) starring Ms. Jones and Guy Pearce.

This is the story of a UK exchange student (Felicity Jones) who joins an upstate New York family (Pearce and Amy Ryan), only to turn things topsy-turvy. Among those discombobulated is the daughter (Mackenzie Davies).

As the bearded, bespectacled dad lectures their temporary family member: “Maybe boundaries are there for a reason ... structure.”

She: “You sound like a teacher.”

He is.

But the boundaries get pushed aside. He blurts: “At the moment there’s only really one thing that makes me happy.”

She: “Me?”

He confesses: “It’s true.”

Now both wife and daughter have reason to be discombobulated.

The Exchange Student: “I’m ... I’m ... I just feel like I’m causing so many problems here.”

He: “No, you're not.”

Yes, she is.

Just like in “The Invisible Woman,” Felicity Jones finds herself attracting an older man. Although 30, she plays a teenager here. And Guy Pearce is in his late forties.

This is director Drake Doremus’s second film starring Felicity Jones (the first being “Like Crazy”). “I felt like the journey wasn’t complete yet, and that we had some more exploring to do.”

Again, Doremus used the technique of working from an outline, letting his actors improvise the dialogue.

As those of you who have attended NY Film Critics one-night-only showings know, the film will be followed by a live HD simulcast of a conversation between the stars and Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers … and with the audiences in theaters scattered across the US. Go ahead. Text in your question and maybe Felicity Jones will answer it.

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