Marking the directorial debut of performer Andy Serkis, "Breathe" is a breezy period romance recounting the true story of plucky Brit Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), who at 28 was stricken with Polio, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own. The doctor's prognosis gives him only a few months to live, time which he'll spend permanently attached to a ventilator and confined to hospital bed. But that's not entirely how things worked out.
With the support of his unflappable wife, Diana (Claire Foy, "The Crown"), whom he'd only recently married after a whirlwind courtship, and the assistance of a helpful inventor friend, Cavendish is able to devise means to live a full life, from a special wheelchair to a mobile ventilator that keep him from being confined to a hospital. This increased ability allows him to become a tireless advocate for disability rights.
Strong performances from Garfield and Foy keep things from getting too sentimental, and the script by William Nicholson aims strictly for feel-good uplift (the film is produced by Cavendish's son Jonathan). As a result, the sun-drenched "Breathe" is more light and jovial than you'd typically expect for this type of story. Its plucky tone captures the adventurous spirit that allowed Cavendish to go through most of his life with a delighted smile on his face.