I’ve not read Anne Sophie Brasme’s novel, but Mélanie Laurent’s adaptation of Breathe is clearly a passion project.
“I read it when I was 17 and I always knew I wanted to turn it into a movie. It blew my mind,” says Laurent in the press kit for the film.
So, apparently, did the young woman she cast in the lead role. When it came time to adapt the script, Laurent knew she wanted Joséphine Japy to play Sam from seeing her previous work.
“She is everything I like to see in a movie. A glance and we dive in,” says Laurent. “I wrote the script looking at her picture.”
It is hard to imagine anyone bringing more depth and emotional authenticity to this difficult role. In the film, Sam is a high school student who gets good grades and plays by the rules until she becomes friends with Sarah, a captivating but unpredictable new girl at school.
Like many high school friendships, this one has its ups and downs, but when their interactions begin to escalate into deeper and darker levels of intensity, Sam and Sarah (Lou de Laâge) take viewers into unexpected places.
The title of the film refers to Sam’s asthma and occasional problems breathing, but by the end of the film, it may describe, too, a majority of people watching the movie.
There were moments watching when I realized that the suspense of the story led me to hold my breath. Just breathe…