The Film

"Intimate documentary examining a normal-but-remarkable man and wife's handling of his fatal disease ranks among the year's most moving films."
The Hollywood Reporter (more reactions here)

I AM BREATHING reminds us what it is to be alive – a tale of fun and laughs with a smattering of upset and devastation.

Within a year, Neil Platt goes from being a healthy 30-something British bloke with a great sense of humour to becoming completely paralysed from the neck down, thanks to the devastating illness he has inherited – known as ALS, MND, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. As his body gets weaker, his perspective on life changes. His humour remains, but new wisdom emerges:

"It's amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be.
It's what separates us and defines us as human beings."

Knowing he only has a few months left to live, and while he still has the ability to speak, Neil puts together a letter and memory box for his baby son Oscar and communicates his experience and thoughts about life in a blog – and in this film which he was determined to make. The directness of his communication mingles with images of the sensory details of a life well lived, and makes us revalue the ordinary.     

His blog posts form the film’s narration as he tells his own story through memories and impressions of his life – the sheer joy of falling in love, of partying with his mates, of fast motorbike rides. Through his determination to share his final journey, he makes us ask questions about our own lives.  

The film is 73 minutes long.

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Showing 67 reactions

commented 2013-07-29 06:46:34 +0100
I live in the United States (Paris, Kentucky) and my son was diagnosed in November 2011 with ALS at the age of 20. ALS is the most repulsive disease that exists and it continues to chisel away at his precious life. I am a single mother and Aaron is my only child. There is a such a deep aching in my heart, mind and soul that I never dreamed possible to experience. I pray that a cure is found soon for this wicked and sickening disease. God bless you and I pray for peace for us all.
commented 2013-06-24 12:59:08 +0100
I showed this film on Friday 21st to an audience of 12 raising £120 for the MND association. There was not a dry eye in the room but what a way to raise awareness….I am trying to reach a target of £1000 for the charity including a triathlon in 4 weeks. Please visit my page and read why I have chosen to do this and who my inspiration is and please donate to such a much needed cause http://www.justgiving.com/TracyGrady-Behr
followed this page 2013-06-21 12:26:37 +0100
commented 2013-06-20 22:52:31 +0100
I to have mnd and would like to thank Neil from my heart for making this film and a big thankyou to his wife
commented 2013-06-20 15:06:26 +0100
I’m thankful and humbled to read about about Neil and MND in our local Malaysian online newspaper (Thu 20/6) today. In 2011 I found out about my own sudden deterioration of sight of the right eye. After 1 1/2 years no doctor could tell me what’s wrong. I hope I can help create some awareness of all these fatal diseases. Thank you. God bless!
commented 2013-06-16 19:53:29 +0100
Please try and watch to help me and other people with this illness try to get some more funding for research. It may not save me or others now but for the future!
commented 2013-06-15 23:38:08 +0100
My husband has MND/ALS, he was given till may 2013 to live, he has beat the odds, how long for we dont know, but we keep as normal life as possible, awareness of the disease is very limited the more people are told the more they will understand what the sufferer goes through and the family involved in their care. The Brain and Hearing are not effected.
commented 2013-06-08 18:44:47 +0100
I am going to screen this film at my house for as many friends and family as i can. I know its going to make me really sob. My dad passed from MND and now is the time to harness more support and raise funds to find a cure.
commented 2013-05-15 12:55:43 +0100
One day it would be great to hear what “little Oscar” thinks about it!!
commented 2013-05-15 12:49:10 +0100
I didn’t know about the Global Day/ Screening. Great thing!
commented 2013-05-11 07:31:00 +0100
May we hear more poetry?
commented 2013-04-24 23:26:11 +0100
A poem by my Dad (Steve Goodfellow, diagnosed Dec 2008, passed away April 2010 – RIP);

Is it a blessing or is it a curse,
to live like this, is there anything worse?
Unable to talk, unable to eat,
fully dependent, not standing on my own two feet.
Waking each day is a double edged sword,
the gift of life should not be ignored,
I am well looked after, my wife is a saint,
but it’s wrong that she suffers, her life is restrained,
I am a burden, of that there’s no doubt,
she would be better off if I checked out,
my family wouldn’t say that, and that’s for sure,
but I know I’m a drag, so show me the door.
I realise I seem negative and somewhat down,
and I do appreciate the love that I’m shown,
but how would you be if you were like me,
I used to be so different, flying free,
we planned to travel, a world to explore,
but I can’t do that any more.
That shouldn’t stop Julie, this wouldn’t be fair,
and my kids are in limbo, because they care.
Should I hang on, hoping for a cure?
It’s not up to me, of that I am sure.
For I cannot move, so I have no choice.
My life is not my own, I have no voice.
This is how I feel, for better or otherwise.
I must sit in this chair, and contemplate my demise.

http://stevegoodfellow.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you to everyone involved in raising awareness of this terrible disease.

RIP Neil.

Ben Goodfellow
commented 2013-04-15 22:59:37 +0100
I am trying to get the film seen here in Wellington New Zealand , the struggle’s and the need for a cure of MND/ALS has to spread out to the world !!!
commented 2013-04-05 03:10:42 +0100
Saw this tonight at the Cleveland International Film Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Excellent presentation of a difficult topic. Kudos to all involved.
followed this page 2013-03-14 02:25:30 +0000
followed this page 2013-03-03 18:59:08 +0000
commented 2013-02-13 13:49:43 +0000
What an amazing piece of work. I found it delicate yet devastating. It was so respectfully made, so tender and decent yet unflinching. It was a portrait of a man and an illness, almost as two separate entities. It just blew me away. Well done Emma and Morag, this is an important film but also a work of depth and beauty.
commented 2012-12-15 01:55:14 +0000
A beautiful way to tell Neil, Louise and Oscar’s story. We miss Neil and long to see Louise and Oscar again soon. Bring this to Calgary. Michelle Kay
commented 2012-12-07 11:24:35 +0000
I Am Breathing is a solid testament to a sorely missed friend. Beautifully crafted, tragic and even funny. Emma and Morag have brilliantly brought to the screen Neil’s wish to show us what a devastating disease MND was for him, and is for thousands of ‘silent’ sufferers. Please see this film.
commented 2012-11-29 18:11:13 +0000
What a beautiful and wonderfully crafted film. Made me remember why I love documentary so much and also reminded me to cherish the small and seemingly ordinary moments in life. I hope it reaches a wide audience.
commented 2012-11-26 15:29:34 +0000
I was present at the premiere in Amsterdam and was deeply moved by this film. It was at the same time both a heart wrenching journey with Neil as he battled his illness and sought to leave a legacy for his son, but also a life affirming experience with a challenge to the audience not to miss the immediacy of life, and the beauty in the everyday. Many thanks
commented 2012-11-18 09:41:34 +0000
Thanks for a fine premiere. Held with dignity. Great to watch it on a big screen. Wish the film a long life and – being a grandfather – send special greetings to Oscar, who had such a strong and visionary and committed father.
commented 2012-11-18 01:02:16 +0000
I saw this tonight at the documentary film festival in Amsterdam. It is immensely powerful and eye-opening with regard to Motor Neurone Disease. You will cry and you will rethink life. I am thankful for the family for sharing this experience!
commented 2012-11-15 21:31:40 +0000
congratulation dear Emma.. IMAN
@MNDA_SWSurrey mentioned @breathingfilm link to this page. 2012-11-13 07:20:14 +0000
I AM BREATHING: The thin space between life and death. Documentary by Emma Davie & Morag McKinnon http://t.co/UQnBbDCc via @breathingfilm
@rebeccamday retweeted @breathingfilm 2012-10-22 10:31:16 +0100
We have a new trailer! What do you think about it? http://www.iambreathingfilm.com/?recruiter_id=2
commented 2012-10-20 23:16:51 +0100
filmed someone with motor neurone disease over an eight week period, until they died – when I was 17. It had a profound impact on me – I’m really keen to find out more about this film, I had no idea about it. Thanks for posting it.
@WeldedRockets retweeted @breathingfilm 2012-10-20 20:27:24 +0100
We have a new trailer! What do you think about it? http://www.iambreathingfilm.com/?recruiter_id=2
@sonjahenrici mentioned @breathingfilm link to this page. 2012-10-20 16:17:42 +0100
I AM BREATHING: The thin space between life and death. Watch Trailer here. http://t.co/btQYHngl via @breathingfilm
@lochlim retweeted @breathingfilm 2012-10-20 05:00:25 +0100
We have a new trailer! What do you think about it? http://www.iambreathingfilm.com/?recruiter_id=2
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THE THIN SPACE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH
Film by Emma Davie & Morag McKinnon
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