16 January 2021 | Red-125
Your new best friend in high school
The French movie Respire (2014) was shown in the U.S. with the title Breathe. It was co-written and directed by Mélanie Laurent.
Joséphine Japy portrays Charlene (Charlie), a senior in high school. She's intelligent and attractive. A new student (Sarah, played by Lou de Laâge) becomes Charlie's close friend. Sarah's mother works for a humanitarian organization in a developing country, so Sarah lives with her aunt.
The plot of the movie follows the two young women as they move through the last months of high school. It isn't always a pretty picture.
This is a powerful film, with solid acting by both leads. You wouldn't call it a feel-good film. However, remember that it was produced in France, a country not known for feel-good films.
We saw Respire on the small screen, where it worked well enough. The movie has a so-so IMDb rating of 7.1. I thought it was somewhat better, and rated it 8.
P.S. Every person in the movie smoked continually. The percentage of smokers in France isn't that much higher than in the U.S. I don't know if all the smoking was added for some reason by director Laurent, or if it reflected reality.