Breathe In captures what it means to be trapped in a suburban lifestyle. In Drake Doremus’ latest film he tells the traditional story of those who live in what may seem, a perfect lifestyle and how they want a life that does not revolve around the school run and sending out family Christmas cards. In this particular story the happy family of three; Keith (Guy Pearce), wife Megan (Amy Ryan) and daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis) stable lives are interrupted by the British Berkshire foreign exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) who spends a school term with them in Westchester, New York.
At first glance the Reynolds appear to be satisfied with their lives, pre-Sophie, as they pose for the traditional annual family portrait and send out the greeting cards to family and close friends at the beginning of the film. However, as the film unfolds, behind the jubilant smiles there is a husband who is bored with being a music teacher and wishes to be a professional cellist. A wife who thinks her husband’s ambitions are fickle and feeble and a daughter who appears to be the ‘textbook daughter’ when in fact she does what every other teenager does at that age; drinks with her classmates on the beach.
The film is a classic example of the idiom ‘the calm before the storm’. The household is peaceful and follows routine before Sophie arrives. When Sophie arrives she reminds Keith that he once had dreams and aspirations. Sophie personifies everything that Keith wants; passion, freedom and unpredictability. Slowly as the term progresses Megan starts to notice that her husband starts to distance himself from her and starts to really doubt and mock his musical career. Megan believes that it is unrealistic for Keith to put aside a good, steady career as a teacher for an unstable career as a cellist. However Sophie’s unusual musical talent clouds Keith’s judgments on life. Sophie is shown as dark, provocative and alluring like a piece of a well-written music and a forbidden romance escalates.
Drake Doremus’ independent film allows one to see the contrasts of the ‘white picket fence’ vs. living as an artist. The ‘white picket fence’ connotes a suburban lifestyle with various evenings of cheese and wine while living as an artist connotes a lifestyle of passion with muses, living on the road and spending many evening amongst like-minded artists, writers and musicians. The story is one that we have seen in many forms; a middle age man who wishes to be young again and sees an window of opportunity through a youthful girl who does not see boundaries, the difference with this version is that the majority of the dialogue is echoed through the classical music performed throughout the film and weaved in to the scores by Dustin O’Halloran.