Panorama | Special Presentations
In the kind of technically accomplished and emotionally involving role that often captures Academy Award-voters’ hearts, Andrew Garfield plays Robin Cavendish, a handsome and charming young man apparently living a blessed life—until, at 26, shortly after learning he is to become a father, he’s struck down by polio and left paralyzed, unable even to breathe without the help of machines. Yet his wife Diana (Claire Foy) refuses to allow Robin to succumb to despair, and together they find a way to restore meaning and joy to their lives—with a little help from inventor Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville).
The directorial debut of Andy Serkis, the actor famous for modelling Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Caesar in Planet of the Apes, Breathe is an inspiring true story about a breakthrough in disability treatment, told with sensitivity and finesse. Pedigree runs right through the production, from screenwriter William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Les Misérables, Gladiator) to cinematographer Robert Richardson (JFK, Hugo, Kill Bill) and composer Nitin Sawhney (Midnight’s Children). Ultimately, of course, this is Garfield’s movie, and this brilliant young actor effortlessly commands the screen with a witty, compelling and very touching performance.