Emily Mody - Breath

Posted on Monday, September 03, 2018 at 06:00 PM


Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

Breath directed by Simon Baker is an Australian film adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel. The story follows two teenage boys, Pikelet (played by Samson Coulter) and Loonie (played by Ben Spence). Growing up together on the Australian coast in the 1970s, they are fascinated by the exploration of fear. One day, when Loonie gets injured attempting to push his boundaries, he and Pikelet end up at the beach. It is here, that they get to witness surfing for the first time. They are both completely fascinated by the idea and befriend an older man and long time surfer named Sando (played by Simon Baker). He quickly becomes their coach and guide while they learn more about surfing and traverse the dangerous waters of growing up.

Breath is very rich and well crafted. The acting is excellent and powerful in its portrayal of the complexities that come with maturing into an adult. While at first glance, this film appears to be a light hearted story about surfing culture in 1970s Australia, there are much deeper elements at work here. We see that there is deep rooted emotional pain that the characters struggle to rectify throughout the course of the film. I really enjoyed the use of breath to tie the story lines together and connect the characters. Our breath functions as a beautiful harmony that connects everyone to each other, just like the ocean. The cinematography is stunning. Everything about the water and the landscape looks so untouched and peaceful which is perhaps meant to offer a juxtaposition to the emotional states of the characters. The natural environment is where these characters are able to find their escape and that is why they seek it out so passionately.

Breath reminds me of the film, Lords of Dogtown, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Lords of Dogtown follows the surfing and skateboarding culture that originated in Venice, California during the 1970s. LOD is a biographical story about the z-boys. It follows four friends as they explore the sports they have grown to love and struggle with the choices their new found fame presents. LOD is very similar to Breath in its portrayal of teenage boys growing up and how friendships can change during that period. I think that Breath, however, is marketed for an older audience and is also more serious tonally. Both films are still suitable for teens but it is important to note that Breath is perhaps, somewhat more triggering in terms of content and tone.

I would recommend this film to anyone who has an interest in coming of age stories or surfing culture with a dramatic tone. The peaceful natural environment was utilized to balance out the turbulent emotional states of the characters and this provided a beautiful symmetry. Breath is definitely a very interesting film and Baker was successful in creating a relatable and engaging story.

Breath is 115 minutes long. It is rated 14A for sexual content, nudity, profanity, drug use, and abuse.

Calgary Showtimes: Breath >


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