Film Capsule: Breathe In

Guy Pearce has reached that age, much like Clive Owen and Jude Law, where the industry has forced him to accept onscreen mortality. What this means, in a larger sense, is that, going forward, Pearce will make more sense as a father figure, the aging rocker, a midlife professional, wrestling his own demons. For leading men, this is an inevitable transition, one that’s infinitely eased by way of acceptance.

Pearce, the one-time star of Memento and co-star of L.A. Confidential, has not only accepted that transition, he’s embraced it. While still open to accepting his equal share of major paydays (Prometheus, Iron Man 3, etc.), Pearce is simultaneously carving out a niche for himself as the middle-aged star of worthwhile indies, the most recent of which is Breathe In.

The story of Breathe In is nothing new – a devoted father, his suburban family, the introduction of an exchange student come to live inside their home. We understand where this is going, and yet it never reeks of earnest. The tension rises slowly, the actors keeps you wanting, and Felicity Jones conveys deep longing through the stillness in her eyes.

Jones, who previously appeared in (Breathe In Director) Drake Doremus’s Like Crazy, remains just as unassuming here. It’s quite a coup, the way the 30-year old demands your adoration despite wreaking havoc on a peaceful home. Guy Pearce proves equally evocative – conflicted-yet-relatable, fucking over both his wife and daughter.

If there’s any weak link throughout Breathe In it would have to be Mackenzie Davis. To be fair, it’s difficult to discern whether Davis, in her portrayal of a melodramatic high school athlete, is turning on the schmaltz intentionally. Either way her role is minor, and the ensemble more than compensates. The chemistry is so palpable that, in the end, Breathe In proves one of the most intimate – and effective – motion pictures that’s been released in the past year … a supreme indication that its Director, Drake Doremus, is on a trajectory to shine.

(Breathe In opens in limited release this Friday.)