TIFF 2017: Breathe Directed by Andy Serkis

Starring Claire Foy, Andrew Garfield, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander
TIFF 2017: Breathe Directed by Andy Serkis
Courtesy of Elevation Pictures
8
Actor Andy Serkis's directorial debut tells the inspirational true story of activist and innovator Robin Cavendish (played by Andrew Garfield), a 28-year-old British man who was stricken with rapid-onset polio during a tea expedition to Kenya in the late 1950s.
 
With the help of his wife Diana (played by The Crown's Claire Foy), Cavendish refused to let the world pass him by despite being paralyzed from the neck down. He became a champion for the differently abled around the world, and helped create numerous devices used to advance their quality of life (including a motorized wheelchair with a built-in respiratory unit, designed by a local friend and inventor named Teddy Hall, played here by Hugh Bonneville).
 
It's a story that's obviously close to Serkis's heart (his mother was a teacher who worked with disabled children) — not to mention to his fellow Imaginarium Studios co-founder and producer Jonathan Cavendish, who commissioned writer William Nicholson to create the screenplay about his late father.
 
Breathe does his life justice, filling the screen with pathos, comedy and a sense of adventure that's only heightened by Garfield's heart-wrenching, humorous and honest portrayal. Breathe is a tear-jerker of a drama that offers insight into an often neglected group of people while showcasing strength in the face of adversity. See it before awards season.

(Elevation Pictures)