Breathe (Respire)

Oops, just missed it! This film is no longer available on Netflix streaming or DVD. If you liked Blue is the Warmest Color, Girlhood, 17 Girls, and... Gone Girl, you will love this new take on adolescence.

Adapted from Anne-Sophie Brasme’s novel, the film contemplates the difficulty of friendship for a 17-year-old girl with an unstable family environment. Just like the novel, the movie progresses as if in disguise, revealing just enough, scene after scene, to make you question the motives and the actions of each character. 

Josephine Japy is Charlie, an insecure teenager who befriends the new kid in school, the confident Sarah (Lou de Laâge). Their relationship became quickly uncomfortable as Sarah reveals herself as being both fragile and increasingly manipulative. 

Behind the camera for the second time, the actress-director Mélanie Laurent never judges her characters, nor does she give them an excuse for their behavior. Like a documentary, the camera never leaves the perspective of main character Charlie, an approach that leaves the viewer hoping for the best and feeling first hand her darkest and loneliest moment.

What begins as a coming-of-age story becomes a chilling psychological drama with unforeseen plot twists.

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