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Respire (2014)

Joséphine JapyLou de LaâgeIsabelle CarréClaire Keim
Mélanie Laurent


Respire (2014) is a French movie. Mélanie Laurent has directed this movie. Joséphine Japy,Lou de Laâge,Isabelle Carré,Claire Keim are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2014. Respire (2014) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

It is tale of two teenage girls who develop an intense and dangerous friendship. Charlie is a 17-year-old girl tortured by doubt, disillusionment and solitude. When the beautiful and self-confident Sarah arrives and the two become inseparable, Charlie is thrilled to feel alive, fulfilled and invincible in their intense friendship. But as Sarah tires of Charlie and begins to look elsewhere for a new friend, their friendship takes an ominous turn.

Respire (2014) Reviews

  • A film you have to experience for yourself!


    You may remember Mélanie Laurent from her wonderful performance in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 nazi revenge fantasy, Inglorious Basterds. In that film she portrays the lone survivor of a Jewish family who was slaughtered by the Nazis. She ultimately gets her revenge in a stunning scene that takes place in a movie theater with a home movie playing – her laughing face being projected onto the screen – as the Nazis meet their demise in a bloody malaise she had a hand in orchestrating. Laurent has moved behind the camera for Breathe (her feature length debut) and it's no exaggeration when I say that this film is even more powerful than the one her character in Inglorious Basterds created. Starring Joséphine Japy as Charlie, a high school senior who sparks up a hazardous friendship with the new girl in school, Sarah (played by Lou de Laâge). Charlie's parents relationship can be described as tumultuous and, at times, downright abusive, with her timid mother (Isabelle Carré) always being on the receiving end. This behavior has spilled over into Charlie's world, affecting her view of her own parents as well as the way she seeks out companionship amongst her peers. And while this could all have played out like a hammy "very special episode" of prime time television, instead we get an excellent character study of complex personalities coming together and tearing each other apart. Breathe is, above all, a story about toxic relationships and it handles that issue with the care and seriousness it deserves. Charlie and Sarah's friendship is based on uneven ground with Sarah always having an upper hand. She's a villain, for sure, but there's more to her character than an unexplained desire to cause pain. She's a victim, just as Charlie's mother is a victim, just as Charlie herself is a victim to Sarah's own behavior. These people are different sides of the same coin and Breathe subtly illustrates how this pattern of abuse and submissiveness is learned and passed down from generation to generation. It's beautifully devastating once you see the paths these characters are intent on walking down become clearer and clearer. I can't recall a single film that has been able to so vividly capture the experience of adolescent friendship gone sour the way Breathe does. At several points I caught myself actually having to slow my own breathing down as I had gotten so worked up over what was playing out on the screen. This film brings you back to adolescence and the heartbreak that comes when friendships fall apart and betrayal becomes something real rather than just a thing you read in books and see in movies. This is due in part to Laurent's beautiful directing, framing shots to perfectly reflect Charlie's isolation from everyone but Sarah, blurring the edges of her life and solely focusing on the object of her desire. But the true verisimilitude of Breathe comes from its two lead performances. Japy and de Laâge are just outstanding in their respective roles. Breathe wouldn't be able to pack such a powerful punch without the presence these two actresses bring to the film; they are so genuine in the skin of these characters that it's hard to believe you're not watching these events unfold as a member of their inner circle. These are two breakout performances occurring at once in the same film and for that, Breathe is really something you have to experience for yourself.

  • Sociopath in the Schoolyard


    The opening shots of 'Breathe' depict the tranquil facades of a quiet provincial town in Southern France as a new day dawns. A sensitive teenage girl called Charlie awakens to the habitual sounds of her parents arguing over the father's infidelities. By evening the marriage has disintegrated, and Charlie begins a new chapter in her struggle to avoid emotional stress. Friendship with a charismatic new classmate called Sarah seems to offer Charlie some refuge from the painful aftermath of her family's break-up. The pair quickly develop a bond - but it soon becomes apparent Sarah shares some of Charlie's father's tendencies toward dishonesty and selfishness. Charlie's hunger for affection makes her especially susceptible to Sarah's deceptions and manipulations, and the relationship transforms into a quicksand of suspicion, jealousy and betrayal. The tension builds to a suffocating level as the shifting alliances of Charlie's teenage community increase her sense of isolation. 'Breathe' has some similarities to the American melodrama 'SWF', but it's far more credible, layered and well constructed. The film is also flawlessly written, directed and acted throughout, which makes its unexpected conclusion especially electrifying.

  • Someone pick this up for North American distribution right now!


    After years of missing out and the repeated back and fourth of "ok-yes-definitely-maybe-probably not-too late" excuses, I finally made my way down to the Philadelphia International Film Festival. I was just visiting the area this past weekend and figured that I'd finally swing by the festival after years of hoping to get around to it. That said, I only had enough time for one film, and while there were a lot of heralded festival heavyweights I could've picked from, I figured I'd opt for something that – while it's gotten my personal attention – hasn't garnered much interest elsewhere and probably won't be getting a legitimate North American release for quite a while. The film in question here of course being Melanie Laurent's positively riveting teen drama Breathe, or Respire, if going by its original French language title. The information pamphlet for the festival summarizes the film as follows: "Charlie is an average French suburban teenager, but when she becomes fast friends with Sarah, the rebellious new girl at school, she discovers there's nothing average about how she feels in Melanie Lauren't sexy sophomore film." Sounds about right. What that description didn't have enough time for was to really go into detail regarding the story, which depicts a seemingly fleeting instance of young lesbian love gone miserably awry, transcending typical teenage girl drama and winding up taking a serious emotional and psychological toll on both of those involved. But if this film is starting to sound like a certain other French lesbian drama that came out last year blog, I can assure you that the similarities stop there. Putting aside the country of origin, subject matter, and age group of the protagonists, the two films hardly have a great deal in common (more on their similarities later). In fact, this film's generally understated tone makes it more akin to something like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a similarly melancholic portrayal of young adults grappling with difficult life situations, rather than Blue is the Warmest Color. In the leading role of Charlie is Josephine Japy, an alluring young French actress who, along with director Melanie Laurent, has created the single most sympathetic female protagonist of 2014, with Japy being able to express an extremely raw vulnerability with little more than her body language and facial expressions, instilling an immediate sense of empathy upon the viewer. However, that's not to suggest that she is depicted as a flawless saint or a mere innocent victim herein. In fact, both of the leading ladies' most defining internal character traits – Charlie's near crippling shyness and Sarah's rampant possessiveness – begin to manifest themselves externally over the course of the runtime, for better or worse. And while certain early details hint at Charlie's lesbianism (her preference of the more masculine nickname Charlie over her birth name Charlene; the story of her underwhelming first sexual encounter with a boy), it becomes less of an abstract and a more identifiable part of her personality as the film goes on, which culminates in the most significant dialogic exchange regarding her feelings for Sarah, which also happens to be spoken in the English language. Another thing the film manages to perfectly capture is the hotheaded, whirlwind nature of the excitement of being a part of a brand new friendship and/or romantic relationship (or in this case, somewhere in the middle). And if the aforementioned Blue is the Warmest Color was a depiction of a young woman's self discovery of her own budding sexuality and subsequent first love gone all's well, then Breathe offers the flip-side version of that scenario. This could be attributed to it providing a similar narrative foundation, and almost identical first ten minutes to Blue's, before things peak early and begin to crumble quickly for our young heroines. And from a technical standpoint, the film also impresses. For an actor turned director, Melanie Laurent has a striking visual sensibility, which proves to be perfectly matched for this subject matter, with several individual shots and/or sequences vividly highlighting Charlie's isolation, and it also has one hell of an effective long-take. Festival or not, Breathe is one of the single best films I've seen from 2014. Hopefully it gets a more prominent release soon, or I'll distribute the damn thing myself.

  • A quiet, disquieting portrayal of the potency of emotional conflict at Teen-age


    So she's a great director, too. I still haven't seen Laurent's 'Les Adoptes', but will close this gap asap after watching this her 2nd feature film. On the surface alone 'Respire' offers everything that's good about and expected from a social drama produced in Europe: hand- held camera, faithfulness to the light in which we'd see each scenery in real life, the effects being in the faces rather than in post production. The story being told by those faces as much as by film narrative, foremost by Josephine Japy's face. And the film unfolds as everything but mere surface. It's a very simple story, a school friendship going awry with tragic consequences, but Laurent's focus is on the subtleties of this relationship's evolution in each moment, and in collaboration with formidable acting this makes it a compelling watch. One small but powerful feature of film language that particularly delighted me was the smart use of slow motion: slow-mo is too often used in other films in a very annoying, bashful in-your-face way, here it is sparsely used, brief moments that follow the sole purpose of accentuating, and these moments work. The final result is a quiet, engaging, and ultimately disquieting and unsettling portrayal of the potency of emotional conflict at teen-age, of how unrehearsed and thus affecting, cruel and potentially dramatic and disastrous actions and reactions can be, especially if the pretence of adjustment hides the cracks of insufficient, failing or absent home support. Reacting increasingly becomes overreacting, foreboding eventual catastrophe; vulnerability takes vengeance on the greater vulnerability, and it is the containment of this greater vulnerability beating with the heart of the more reasoned protagonist that will in the end cease abruptly and give way to a surrender of control. The final take, as simple, precise and convincing as the entire film, is nothing short of ingenious. Praise be due to the performances of both leads, especially Josephine Japy (often reminding me of a young Binoche), as well as that of Isabelle Carre, playing Charlie's mother.

  • Multi talented Melanie Laurent delivers typical French drama


    Respire is in all respect typical French drama. Apparently dry scenes, where you wonder if you're missing something. Restrained and subtle emotions that are confusing and irritating. A couple of dramatic plot twists. And beautiful, good, young actresses. I love it. Josephine Japy as the introverted Charlie and Lou de Laage as extrovert Sarah are fine casted. Sarah can get under your skin. There are several moments in the film that I wanted to hit or hurt her. Charlie is often apathetic. I would kick her ass sometimes or shake her to wake her up. The crying and gasp scene at the end of the film is breath taking. Although I'm far from the subject in age and I'm not a woman, I could easily empathize with Respire and it hit me several times like I was 17 again.

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