Though the story has undergone quite a few changes, what’s intact is the novel’s grittiness and emotional honesty, which more than compensates for the occasional coming-of-age cliche.
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Aside from the innate understanding of female friendship dynamics, it's hard to see exactly what else Mélanie Laurent brings to this overly familiar story.
Right up until the film’s very closing moments, in which the carefully maintained tension and tone snaps under the ratchet of one melodramatic turn too many, it is not just an absorbing performance piece, but a film of real directorial confidence and flair.
This beautifully observed drama creates an intimate feel and gently observed moments of connection and angst. Then things move forward with almost too heavy of a heart.
Breathe, the second feature directed by French actress Mélanie Laurent (best known for playing the vengeful Shoshanna in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), tackles the subject from a refreshingly novel angle, depicting a platonic friendship that quickly grows toxic.
At first I thought Breathe would play out like a Gallic version of “Mean Girls,” but it’s more troubling than that.
Melanie Laurent brings a sure, sensitive hand to tonally tricky material and draws superb work from relative newcomers Josephine Japy (“Cloclo”) and Lou De Laage (“Jappeloup”).
It's a confident and scary film.
It's a chilly, elegantly assured little picture, a horror story with its roots not in fantasy but in the reality of hurt feelings.
Breathe conveys an uncanny insight into the psychology of late adolescence, when lingering childhood fantasies can combust with burgeoning adult sexuality in a swirl of uncontrollable feelings.