The Reynolds family, consisting of Keith, Megan and their daughter Lauren, live a happy existence in upstate New York. Keith works as a school teacher but frequently regrets his decision to give up too early on his dreams of being a musician. When Sophia, a British exchange student, arrives to stay with the Reynolds, their family dynamics become shattered with all of the family's hidden issues bubbling to the surface. Drake Doremus' Breathe In is a complex and riveting Lolita-esque story that is aided greatly by its two lead performances. In what could have easily been a cliche-ridden marital affair type story Drake Doremus's slow-burn approach works magnificently, slowly revealing details and truths about Keith and Sophia which make these characters hard to judge. Keith is definitely not a character that is in the right, but Breathe In never fully judges its subjects like so many similar films, instead attempting to understand why a man would commit such an act against his family. Keith has fallen into complacency in his life, dreaming of being a full-time musician. He subconsciously blames Megan for his inability to achieve this, with the arrival of Sophia pushing his angst to the forefront. Sophia on the other hand is extremely talented but lacks the passion for music, only wishing to make her own decisions about her life. Sophia reminds Keith of his youth, with their connection being fueled by his ability to feel creative and alive again. For Sophia, Keith reminds her of her uncle, a man who was very important to her. These two characters are full realized, with Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones giving great performances. Drake Doremus' Breathe In is a fascination examination of forbidden love that explores the idea of being free to do what you want and what that truly means and entails.
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