Breathe

For those who have been following me any time at all, you know I’m not one to watch many films. I’m all about the books. But every now and then, I’ll spy a trailer for a film that looks as if it simply must be watched. Such was the case with Breathe.

Breathe is the true-to-life story of Robin Cavendish who caught polio in 1958 at the age of twenty-eight while in Kenya with his wife, Diana. Robin’s initial reaction to his complete paralysis and inability to breathe without mechanical assistance was to die, and he requested his wife turn off the machine allowing him to do so.

Diana, pregnant with their son, refused to let Robin die. She made it clear that she did not wish to start over with anyone else. Rather, with love-conquers-all determination, she told Robin that she wanted their son, Jonathan, to know him and asked what she could do. To Robin’s reply of “get me out of here,” Diana helped him escape the confines of the hospital and the narrow-minded physician who would have her husband live his remaining days not only physically disabled but disabled in spirit as well.

I won’t spoil the movie for you by detailing the adventures Robin and Diana enjoyed, but I will say that what could have been a depressing movie was actually quite uplifting. Robin and Diana became advocates for improving the quality of life for disabled people. The best part was that Robin lived more than three decades longer than he was supposed to. Still, you will need a box of tissues when the film comes to its conclusion.

Prior to watching Breathe, I admit I wasn’t a fan of Andrew Garfield. My first encounter with the actor was the disturbing movie Boy A in which he played a child murderer. When combined with his less than memorable stints as Spiderman, his role in the disconcerting film Never Let Me Go, and his part in the disaster The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, I didn’t bother following his career. I understand his acting in Hacksaw Ridge was quite good, but I have difficulty watching war movies no matter how much my son begs me.

Perhaps starring in the dismal films was simply a means of paying his dues until the better roles came along. Whatever the reason, Andrew Garfield has finally earned my respect for his acting in Breathe. Let’s hope he can continue to be offered such roles as I would be interested to see how he matures as an actor.

Woman in Gold – Movie Review

I’m not a fan of Ryan Reynolds especially after watching the disaster that was The Green Lantern and some piece of tripe he starred in with Jason Bateman. In fact, I don’t care for his acting at all, and I’m being generous when I call it acting. Helen Mirren, on the other hand, is brilliant, fabulous, and classy even if the movie she stars in is horrible and disintegrates around her.

When I saw that Ryan Reynolds had been graciously cast opposite Helen Mirren in the movie Woman in Gold, I cringed wondering if even she could carry the dead weight of Reynold’s flat acting and bleating voice. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she didn’t have to.

Woman in GoldWoman in Gold tells the story of Maria Altmann, a young Jewish woman who fled Austria with her husband during World War II. Sixty years after her forced exile, Maria seeks the help of Attorney Randy Schoenberg to reclaim the famous Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer. Maria and Randy take the battle all the way to the US Supreme Court with a slowly building intensity that often left me clenching my teeth as I awaited the outcome of each painful step. I won’t spoil the ending, but rather, I’ll say this is one movie that should not be missed.

What I will focus on is the impression the movie left upon me. It is hard to imagine a regime so evil that it would perfect the practice of hatred to the level that the Nazis did. And yet, one can hardly turn on the news or surf the Internet without seeing this same type of barbarism taking place today all over the world. God forgive us that we are allowing it to happen again.

Equally chilling is the arrogance and indifference with which these acts of terror are met. Of course, it is absolutely criminal that personal property is stolen, but more important are the lives that are being destroyed. As Helen Mirren portraying Maria Altmann said regarding the restitution of the stolen art, it will not bring them back. Still, it is a small step toward acknowledging and righting the wrongs committed.

Then the problem becomes how do we stop the crimes that are occurring now as we make restitution for the past while preventing the evil from raising its ugly head in our future? I believe the answer lies within each person on a daily basis. What will you chose to do today? Acts of good or deeds of evil?

Woman in Gold 2

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