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.Written by
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.
16 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this