It’s a gorgeous, romantic drama that earns its emotional resonance without venturing beyond the most familiar beats.
There's a hint of comforting, chocolate-box, Sunday-night TV here, but it's delivered via such quietly powerful performances and with such hope that it's hard to resist.
The performances and the inherent power of the true story keep it from being a complete disaster, but one hopes Serkis moves on to more challenging material with his follow-up.
The lack of emotional distance between the filmmakers and the subject – producer Jonathan Cavendish is the son of Robin and Diana – might account for the bracingly celebratory approach. This is understandable, perhaps, but it results in a lack of dramatic light and shade, and an absence of texture in the characterisation.
This earnestly romantic biopic of odds-beating polio patient Robin Cavendish and his unwavering wife, Diana, keeps its eyes moist and its upper lip stiff to the last — but its sweeping inspirational gestures rarely reach all the way to the heart.
The film is an easily digestible replica of the truth, bathed in honeyed cinematography and sentimentalized adulation.
Los Angeles Times
In leaving out the rasp of life from this unusual story, Breathe too often feels like a mechanized exhale.
The A.V. Club
Breathe seems to want nothing more than to be "The Theory Of Everything" for a slightly newer generation.
The Hollywood Reporter
Breathe is clearly aiming for the same heart-wrenching emotional heights as James Marsh’s Oscar-winning Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. But this is very much a crude copy, its noble intentions hobbled by a trite script, flat characters and a relentlessly saccharine tone that eventually starts to grate.
The New York Times
Offering no hint of the backbreaking drudgery and mental strain of their predicament, this gauzy picture (produced by the couple’s son, Jonathan Cavendish, and directed by his friend, the actor Andy Serkis) is a closed loop of rose-tinted memories.