Take a Drink: for happy family activities
Take a Drink: whenever Felicity Jones touches things that aren’t hers to touch
Take a Drink: for piano playing
Take a Drink: whenever a character does
Take a Drink: for orchestral pieces
Do a Shot: Haha, it’s the Mayor!
Long life the Mayor!
By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Drake Doremus got a lot of Indie cred with Like Crazy, but while I dug Felicity Jones’s performance, it mostly left me cold. It’s much-hyped technique of writing scenes without dialogue, then letting the actors improvise their own lines in the moment, actually seemed to yield the opposite of the authenticity it was shooting for. I mean, this is a movie where Jones falls madly in love with Anton Yelchin.
His last name is the sound a poodle makes when you kick it in the groin.
In Breathe In, Felicity Jones gets to fall head over heels for another unlike suitor… a suburbed-up Guy Pearce. Pearce is a high school piano teacher and part-time cellist with a pleasantly average family (Amy Ryan and newcomer Mackenzie Davis as his daughter) who considers pulling a Juno Jason Bateman when a talented, mysterious English foreign exchange student (Jones) comes to live with them.
What’s maddening about Drake Doremus is that he always shows just enough talent to make you think his next film will be the one that comes together perfectly. Here some scenes, like where Jones shows her true piano skills in an almost aggressive comparison to the pedestrian talent in her classroom (including Pearce’s character himself), or the combination of music and cinematography and how it changes over the course of a wild night in the city, are simply excellent. They make you wish that level of skill had been present for the whole film.
Acting-wise, Mackenzie Davis is another great find by Doremus, playing a talented yet confused teenager whose life is thrown even more awry by the arrival of Jones with a real emotional heft and tragic intensity. Jones, though, demonstrates once again why she’s one of the most promising actresses in the world today, commanding the screen in her every scene and turning a rather underwritten character into a living, breathing human being.
So, the polar opposite of what Megan Fox does to a role.
Jones is an old pro at Doremus’s improvisational style, and I think it really works for her. Like Like Crazy, though, for pretty much everyone else there is an unnatural line or awkward pause or three to deal with, and some of the supporting cast just aren’t up to the task at all.
Some stylistic touches here are so overplayed that they start to feel like “important drama” satire. I’m talking about the heavy-handed, generally unnecessary piano score and the color scheme of the film, which is all gray and blue-filters troweled onto a washed-out and dour palette. It looks like the “before” half of a Prozac commercial.
Full of suburban ennui? Experiencing a mid-life crisis? Then hotforeignexchangegirlium might be for you.
The real achilles heel of the film, though, is the plot. So many cliches. Domesticated artist? Check. Mid-life crisis? Check. Sexy soulful young woman catches his eye? Check. Tragedy ensues? Fuckin’ check.
Breathe In boasts some quality acting, but a rehashed story and some uninspired directorial choices drag it down.