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“Breathe” (2017) is a biographical drama directed by Andy Serkis, marking his directorial debut. It stars Andrew Garfield as Robin Cavendish and Claire Foy as his wife, Diana. The film is based on the true story of Robin Cavendish, who, after contracting polio at the age of 28, becomes paralyzed from the neck down. Despite being given only months to live, Robin, with the unwavering support of Diana, defies the odds and lives a rich and fulfilling life, becoming an advocate for the disabled and pioneering new ways for them to live more independently.

Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Robin is both powerful and deeply moving. He captures the essence of a man who, despite his severe physical limitations, exudes charm, wit, and an indomitable spirit. Garfield’s nuanced performance brings out Robin’s struggle, vulnerability, and remarkable courage. Claire Foy’s performance as Diana is equally compelling. She portrays Diana with a mix of strength, compassion, and unwavering devotion, embodying a woman who refuses to let her husband’s condition define their lives. The chemistry between Garfield and Foy is palpable, adding an emotional depth to their on-screen relationship that is both believable and touching.

The film’s cinematography, by Robert Richardson, is visually stunning. It captures the lush English countryside, the vibrant scenes in Africa, and the period details with great care, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the narrative. The film’s settings and visual storytelling enhance the emotional impact of the story, making the audience feel fully immersed in the Cavendishes’ world.

“Breathe” is a film that balances its emotional weight with moments of humor and lightness. It avoids becoming overly sentimental or melodramatic, instead opting for a more genuine and heartfelt portrayal of the Cavendish family’s journey. The screenplay, written by William Nicholson, emphasizes the importance of love, resilience, and the human spirit. It showcases how Robin and Diana’s love for each other and their determination to live life to the fullest transcended the limitations imposed by Robin’s condition.

One of the most inspiring aspects of the film is its depiction of Robin’s impact on the world around him. Refusing to be confined to a hospital bed, Robin becomes a trailblazer in advocating for the disabled. He collaborates with his friend, Teddy Hall (played by Hugh Bonneville), to develop a wheelchair with a built-in respirator, allowing him and others like him to live more independently. This invention represents a significant milestone in the field of disability rights and technology, highlighting Robin’s enduring legacy.

“Breathe” is not just a story about overcoming physical adversity; it’s also about the power of human connection and the difference one person can make in the world. The film leaves a lasting impression, reminding viewers of the profound impact of love, determination, and the willingness to challenge societal limitations.

In conclusion, “Breathe” is an inspiring and beautifully crafted film that highlights the remarkable true story of Robin and Diana Cavendish. With outstanding performances by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, stunning cinematography, and a heartfelt narrative, it is a poignant exploration of the triumph of the human spirit. It stands as a testament to the power of love and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

By Punarka Wijesuriya


“I feel like they really SHOULD tell the patient his true state.. especially in this kind of situation where he had a small time to live… he should decide how to spend his days”

“How quickly his life changed was really shocking”

‘I don’t want to just survive. I want to truly live’ and he truly lived…

“The son who I think was an outsider to this whole suffering; he wasn’t conscious for most of the dads suffering and he was still able to make a movie that portray his dad & mum’s suffering, so to think how much his dad and mum actually might’ve suffered…”

“Sometimes its weird to think how we think our own lives are soo unfortunate and then u see people like this tryna live the best life they can and u are embarrassed of yourself really”

“One litre of tears is a similar Japanese short series where a 15 year old girl with spinocerebellar degeneration decides to live her life to the fullest instead of going into depression”

“There’s such humour infused in such a serious situation that seems to make everything a little bit better”

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