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 58 reactions


commented 2014-04-17 00:08:42 +0100
My grandad died of motor neurones in 1987. I have two memories of him one when he saved me after a reprimand for touching something I shouldn’t and the second when he lost his temper at me aged 7 because I couldn’t understand what he was saying to me. Thank you for reminding me he was a sane mind trapped inside an insane body. Xx
commented 2014-03-26 03:17:03 +0000
Good job man. Having seen it a second time it didn’t get any easier. The old grainy memory like footage worked wonderfully and that near-last scene with his wife on the bed? That managed to capture love and death in one shot.
commented 2013-12-23 15:54:33 +0000
Loved the film even though it was so heartbreaking to watch. We lost my aunt to ALS at the age of 47. My thoughts are with Louise & Oscar xxx
commented 2013-12-07 22:31:57 +0000
Thank you – Neil, Louise and Oscar – for sharing this most precious time that can help spread the word about MND. Your strength and love shines through. I hope you are able to look back with more happiness than sadness, despite what this cruel disease has done. X
commented 2013-12-05 14:03:05 +0000
I have just watched this beautiful film with tears streaming down my face. The strength of Neil and his wife, Louise astounded me. Thank you for sharing your story to increase the awareness of MND.
commented 2013-11-28 18:32:02 +0000
My partner Susan (50)has recently been diagnosed with MND (June 2013) and watching Neil’s film really moved me, how is it in this day and age we can’t find a cure to these horrible diseases its good bring this awareness to people who don’t know or are not aware, thank you Neil and his Lovely Family for sharing their story. Keep fighting lets get a cure for this horrible disease
commented 2013-11-25 01:03:46 +0000
I sadly lost my mother to MND 11 years ago, it is a terrible disease for the person with it but also having to watch your loved one suffer killed me inside, my thoughts and prayers to Neil and his family, so sad, brings back bad memories but has to be shown to raise awareness of the condition.
commented 2013-11-24 23:54:29 +0000
my stepbrother was diagnosed with MND when he was 16 years old (i was 14 at the time), he never moved, spoke or breathed again, they told him he had 6 months to live, he died 2 1/2 years later. It is about time the world see’s how traumatizing it is for the family’s involved. My heart goes out to neils wife and baby oscar.
commented 2013-11-24 22:53:45 +0000
I sadly lost my partner of 13 years nearly 4 years ago to this cruel disease. I take my hat off to Neil as this documentary will raise awareness but as much as I feel for his family, I am unable to watch it as I have lived it and would bring back sad memories. Will be thinking of Neil and his family and in time will find the courage to watch what this brave young man was determined to do for his son xxx
commented 2013-11-17 02:02:56 +0000
ALS breaks my heart. I am helping a family take care of their husband/father/son. His wife and him were married 4 days before he was diagnosed. You’d think that I would be used to seeing things like this being in the medical field but this family is my family and it is horrible what they have to endure. I have no words for comfort for anyone, and that is a loss for me- I just know I have to try and make his day good, and not frustrating.. It’s so hard on everyone.. I wish and pray that this gets more research and more exposure. I am grateful for this film, thank you.
commented 2013-10-29 14:26:16 +0000
Amazing movie for every one affected and not.
commented 2013-10-24 09:33:30 +0100
The film will be shown on 25.1.14 at the memorial hall in Great Missenden. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are £5 per person, all proceeds will go to the South Bucks MND branch. Please contact the branch for more information.
commented 2013-10-22 21:31:49 +0100
Thanks to Neil and his family for a devastating, yet beautiful portrayal of this horrible illness. My mum was diagnoses with MND recently and I have done much research. However, nothing you read can prepare you for the real life depiction this documentary offers. I’d just like to point out to those that might have been affected personally, MND is not normally hereditary; Neil was one of the unlucky 5%. A deeply profound film which will stay with me, and will help raise awareness and funds to bring some hope to the sufferers of the future. I love you mum xx
followed this page 2013-10-14 22:13:46 +0100
commented 2013-10-08 17:01:49 +0100
My husband had ALS. Sadly my family and I lost him . He was a fit healthy man who is missed by all who loved him . It’s time more money is put into research from parliament.
commented 2013-10-07 15:28:50 +0100
Film screening organised by the Palliative care team at Colchester General Hospital last week was a great success, comments included “powerful” “moving” and “such an amazing family”.
Over £200 raised. Many thanks to all who attended.
commented 2013-10-01 06:43:46 +0100
I went to the screening in Wellington New Zealand this past weekend. I thought it was an amazing glimpse into a horrific illness but a beautiful insight into a man & his beautiful family
commented 2013-09-17 10:03:46 +0100
A FREE screening of I AM BREATHING with a Q&A session will be shown on:
SUNDAY 22nd SEPTEMBER @ 4pm in
THE WHITE EAGLE CLUB,
Balham High Road,
London,
SW17 7BQ
Hosted by Happy Soul Festival!!
Every one is welcome!!!
commented 2013-09-16 21:24:59 +0100
My son-in-law died of ALS, a disease that is horrible for the person who has it but that is also horrible and heart-rending for the families.
commented 2013-09-09 18:13:04 +0100
My Dad was 66 and he died on 17 Febuary 2008 from MND. Any disease that takes your life is cruel but MND is brutal, you have no chance of survival, no treatment to buy some time and you are fully aware what is happening to you as you are robbed of your life and suffer the pain of knowing you are leaving your loved ones. I’m so proud of my Dad’s courage, he lived 56 weeks after his diagnosis and it broke our hearts to know we losing him. It’s 2013 a cure has to be found for this disease before it claims more lives. My Dad lives on in our hearts but he should be here today with us.
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THE THIN SPACE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH
Film by Emma Davie & Morag McKinnon
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