Breathe film review

Breathe film review – London Film Festival: Surprisingly entertaining viewing in its own very British fashion

Andrew Garfield stars as an upper-class Englishman with polio who is given weeks to live in the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis

The premise is daunting. Breathe (which opened the London Film Festival) is a biopic telling the story of Robin Cavendish, a dashing upper-class Englishman struck down with polio, paralysed from the neck below and given weeks to live. It’s a grim starting point but the film (the directorial debut of actor Andy Serkis) makes rousing and surprisingly entertaining viewing in its own very British fashion. 
We are used to seeing Andrew Garfield (who plays Cavendish) scaling buildings in Spider-Man movies or dashing heroically across the battlefield in Hacksaw Ridge. Here, once the illness strikes, he’s like a rag doll that can’t move at all. He has a tube attached to his throat which is connected to a vacuum-like machine that does his breathing for him. Garfield still manages to give an energetic and upbeat performance, smiling joyously and, once he has recovered the powers of speech, showing off his dry wit and enormous joie de vivre.