Breathe ( Melanie Laurent, 2014): France

Reviewed by Angela Ostermeier. Viewed at AFI Fest 2014.

imageWhat girl hasn’t wanted to smack a B**** from time to time and if there was ever a time it’s during the movie Breathe from director-actress Melanie Laurent. Breathe is a story about a shy girl named Charlie played by Josephine Japy, who is dealing with the typical teenage issues that every young high school student who is about to graduate is going through. Her parents fight, she has boy trouble, and of course she has one fights with friends. Charlie’s problems with her friends start to stem from one in particular. The new girl named Sarah played by Lou de Laage. The two girls quickly become fast friends due to Sarah’s wild spirit attracting Charlie and distracts her from the worries she has at home. The two spend every minute together and Sarah opens up Charlie to a world where she experiences things she never had before. From getting dressed up and trying on lipstick to partying and dancing all night. However, their relationship soon takes a turn towards romantic as Charlie’s feeling for Sarah start to show little by little. The strangest turn of events throughout the film is when Sarah flips the switch on Charlie and starts exhibiting cruel behaviors towards her. While the bullying continues on at school Charlies mental state falters and in a shocking plot twist the lives of both girls are left in the balance. This story truly shows how much love and happiness friendship can bring, but it also shows the dark and evil side of teenage girls and how being catty can push someone over the edge.

I really enjoyed this film because although I believe the story did take the depth of their fighting to new levels I think it really resonated with me because every girl has at one point in their lives had to deal with a mean girl. This film captured this beautifully and did so in a way that kept the audience guessing as to what was going to happen next. You’ll be routing up until the final moment for Charlie to finally give Sarah what’s been coming.

The performance given by the two young girls were breathtaking. Their chemistry seemed as if the two had known each other for years and I think that is another reason as to why I could identify with the characters. Friendship is a scary thing because unlike family, you get to pick your friends and when things go south the secrets and the promises you made are put in jeopardy.

I think that audiences will appreciate the true performances that the cast gives and the directing of the very talented Melanie Laurent. When picking your next foreign thriller I would as this to your list of options because it kept me on the edge of my seat and also was very aesthetically pleasing with all the beautiful scenery and use of framing during the scenes with the girls.

If your not still convinced that Breathe is worth seeing than viewers should definitely tune in to the last few minutes because the last scene will leave you thinking what the hell did I just miss.

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