"A Pioneer for Disabled People"

Content: -3 Excessive content and/or worldview problems.

What You Need To Know:

BREATHE is a biographical drama based on the life of Robin Cavendish who contracted polio at the age of 28. Shortly after his diagnosis in the 1950s, Robin becomes paralyzed from the neck down. Confined to his hospital bed, he loses the will to live. His wife begs Robin to stay alive for her and their son. He gains the will to live but wants to be in his own house. With a team of generous doctors, they roll Robin home and teach his wife how to work his breathing machine. He lives for many years, traveling the world, seeing his son grow up, and publicly supporting disabled people everywhere. However, his body finally starts to deteriorate.

BREATHE is a beautiful production with incredible scenic visuals and superb acting. Andrew Garfield steals the show with an exquisite performance. The downside is the movie tries to fit in every detail of his life and sometimes feels rushed. For most of its running time, BREATHE offers a pro-life message, but at the end makes an abhorrent argument for assisted suicide when Robin’s body deteriorates.


(PaPa, BB, AbAb, LL, V, S, N, A, D, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with strong moral elements promoting virtuous principals of love, compassion, perseverance and faithfulness, wife upholds the commitment of marriage and stands by her husband “in sickness” after he contracts polio, and most of the movie shows polio victim going to ordeal to remain alive for his wife and son’s sake, but the positive content is mixed with some Anti-Christian, immoral content such as priest tries to talk to polio victim about God‘s plan for his life, but victim spits on priest, people talk about God playing jokes on people, clergyman agrees God sometimes plays jokes on people, and, when it appears polio victim’s body is finally deteriorating, a doctor is called to assist his suicide; three obscenities, 11 light exclamatory profanities, one brief shot of a nurse having to wipe a disabled man’s backside after using the bathroom; two scenes of excess blood spilling out of man’s throat, a scary scene where blood covers disabled man’s body; light modest sexual content includes husband and wife kiss, wife cuddles up to husband in bed; brief upper male nudity in one scene; light alcohol use with social drinking, men and women drink red wine at parties and over the holidays; smoking, but no illegal drugs; and, strong miscellaneous immortality includes prideful doctors and bad role models where people in power confine disabled patients to hospital beds, and movie makes an argument for assisted suicide at the very end despite a pro-life message otherwise.

More Detail:

BREATHE is set in the late 1950s when polio was still a deadly illness in some parts of the world. Andrew Garfield gives an outstanding performance playing Robin Cavendish, a man who paved the way for disabled people, in this biographical drama of his life.

The movie begins in a blissful time in Robin’s life. He’s just married the love of his life, Claire Foy. He is 28-years-old and expecting the birth of his first son when he discovers he has polio. He becomes paralyzed from the neck down and is given three months to live. He is rushed to the hospital where he is put on a respirator. For a while, he can barely talk and only uses his eyes to communicate. He asks the doctors to let him die, but Claire begs him to live so he can watch their son grow up.

With Claire’s encouragement, Robin turns his attitude around and gains the will to live. The doctors tell him he will remain in the hospital the rest of his life, but he can’t bare to be there among the isolating white walls. With the help of a team of supportive doctors, they wheel him away in his hospital bed back to his house. The nurse teaches Claire how to feed him and use his respirator. The longer Robin is home, the more he desires to keep pushing the limits for what people say he can’t do. They call up a mechanic friend who helps design a chair that does the breathing for him so he can spend time outside and not just indoors near a wall outlet for his breathing machine.

Despite some major obstacles and tense moments, Robin gets to watch his son grow up alongside his loving wife. Robin ends up getting on an airplane too where he and his family travel to Africa to see the sights and watch the sunset. Robin becomes an advocate for disabled people everywhere. He starts speaking in front of crowds and medical doctors to prove to them disabled people are people first and that their quality of life matters.

However, Robin’s body starts to deteriorate from his lungs being on a respirator for so long.

BREATHE is a beautiful production with incredible scenic visuals and superb acting. Andrew Garfield steals the show with an exquisite performance. Robin and his family travel to Spain, Africa and Europe where beautiful shots of rolling hills, majestic mountains and sunsets are depicted. The downside is the movie tries to fit in every detail of Robin’s life and sometimes feels rushed.

For most of its running time, BREATHE has a wonderful, positive message showing love can conquer all things. It also has a pro-life message. However, at the end, the movie finally makes an argument for assisted suicide as Robin’s health begins to decline. Also, there’s a scene near the beginning where a priest tries to talk to Robin about God’s plan for his life, but Robin spits on him. Another scene about Robin’s sudden polio paralysis contends that God sometimes likes to play jokes on humans. The movie also contains some foul language and three bloody scenes where Robin gets a tracheotomy and where his respirator tube fills up with blood. Therefore, BREATHE is excessive.