"Stunningly alive" – what the U.S. thinks about I AM BREATHING
Leading up to the week-long runs of I AM BREATHING in cinemas in New York City and Los Angeles, Emma Davie (the film's co-director) and Louise Oswald (who was Neil Platt's wife) were guests in the studio of the Huffington Post's channel, HuffPost Live. This is their 20-minute interview.
On RogerEbert.com, the site of the late and legendary movie critic, Scott Jordan Harris has written one of our all-time favourite reviews:
"'I Am Breathing' is an earnest and important film. It deserves to be seen by anyone who is interested in documentaries and anyone who is interested in the simple human stories movies too often overlook."
In a new review, IndieWire called I AM BREATHING "a genuinely inspirational documentary on one man’s last days".
"What is most noteworthy about “I Am Breathing” is what it is not: horrendously depressing. Sure, it is incredibly sad, especially every scene with young Oscar. But “I Am Breathing” is not a documentary intended to induce sobbing. It is, instead, a film about dying that is stunningly alive, wildly optimistic, and always insightful and entertaining."
Under the headline "Strong Enough To Laugh", the New York Times also points out how "Mr. Platt's good-humored attitude helps keep the potent material from turning mawkish" and concludes that the film, "amid the cinema's hit parade of violent but curiously instantaneous deaths, reminds us what it means to bear witness to the very end."
In the Village Voice, Ernest Hardy writes:
"Platt and his story are inherently moving, and co-directors Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon wisely employ a light, unobtrusive touch as their camera captures the erosion of Platt's health. Platt never gives in to self-pity, and is instead a funny, droll, philosophical subject."
Film Journal is republishing Neil Young's review for The Hollywood Reporter which ranks the I AM BREATHING "among the year's most moving films":
"The last couple of years in one tragically truncated life are chronicled with a winning combination of sensitivity and humor in I Am Breathing."
On About.com, Jennifer Merin reminded readers her earlier 5-star review which concludes:
"Neil Platt reveals a profound honesty and wisdom. In the short time span of the film, he becomes a friend, a member of the family. Anyone who has comforted a loved one as death nears will recognize and honor the sensitivity with which this film is made. The film is not only a moving tribute to Neil Platt, it is also his legacy, one that touches and teaches all of us. RIP Neil Platt, and thank you, your family, the filmmakers and the Scottish Documentary Institute for giving us I AM BREATHING."
Women's eNews writes about this "profoundly moving documentary":
"This heartbreaking and inspirational film is a must-see."
NY-based Film critic James van Maanen writes on his blog Trust Movies:
"What separates us as human beings from other life forms? This question's been asked and answered many times, but according to Neil Platt -- the subject of what is certainly the most moving and maybe one of, even the best documentary of the year -- it's our adaptability. As shown here, Neil certainly proves adaptable. He's dying, you see, and must adapt to that.
How he does it makes for the meat of this 73-minute movie that had me -- and everyone around me -- at the press screening for us cynical critics moved to the point of long silence at the movie's close, followed by an audible inhale/exhale. We won't even go into the tears. How the filmmakers -- Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon -- achieve this is exactly right. They go for, and capture, such intimacy that we're right there, as close to Mr. Platt as possible, not only in terms of distance but of thought, feelings and spirit. And, my, does Neil have a lot of that last one!"
"Like a tactical nuclear strike on my soul" and other reviews
We just wanted to share with you our wonderful collection of quotes and reviews about the film so far:
"It is the best documentary of the year so far, and will undoubtedly remain so. I Am Breathing is a truly remarkable piece. Outstanding. "
"ranks among the year's most moving films"
The Hollywood Reporter (full review)
"an intensely personal documentary [...] It is a film about life"
Dominic Lawson, The Independent (full article)
"its emotional heart is extraordinary"
The Times (also online for subscribers)
"A deeply affecting glimpse of a man's quest to salvage beauty from tragedy."
Empire (also online)
"bleak, unflinching and moving, yet morbidly funny"
The Telegraph (long feature in the Telegraph Magazine, also online)
"Profoundly moving [...] The film is not only a tribute to Neil Platt, it is also his legacy, one that touches and teaches all of us"
Jennifer Merin, About.com (full review)
"Genuinely powerful film-making [...] an intimate portrait of heartbreaking courage - a haunting and inclusive encounter with [...] time, experience and mortality."
Trevor Johnston, Sight & Sound (also online for subscribers)
"profoundly resonant [...] curiously life-affirming"
RTE (full review)
"a genuine heartbreaker"
Alison Rowat, The Herald (also online)
"absurd humour and profound beauty amidst the sadness"
Chris Buckle, The Skinny (full review)
"like a tactical nuclear strike on my soul"
London City Lights
"a heartbreaker of a film"
Daily Express (also online)
"Ill-achieved fiction is, this week, shamed by well-achieved non-fiction. I Am Breathing is a tragic, insightful, harrowing documentary."
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times (also online)
Grant Rollings, The Sun (article online for subscribers)
"at once devastating and deeply moving"
Miles Fielder, The List (full review)
"Inspiring documentary [...] celebrating the power of the human spirit to endure."
Time Out (London)
"a poignant movie which captures [...] stoic wit"
"this film might change your life"
"delicate - heartbreaking - inspiring"
"Top 10 films of 2012"
"a film to watch in 2013"
"Best of 2012" & "A Doc to Watch in 2013"
Within weeks of our world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in November, I AM BREATHING has both been called one of the best documentaries in 2012 and one of the films to watch in 2013.
The film finished IDFA as the audience's 8th-most favourite film (out of a staggering 300 films at the festival). It also remained the 4th-most watched film at the Docs For Sale market (out of more than 600 titles). Here's what people had to say about I AM BREATHING:
The Hollywood Reporter ranked it "among the year's most moving films" (full review here).
"As [Neil Platt] promises very early on, what we get is 'a tale of fun and laughs with a smattering of upset and devastation.' The former gives way to the latter only in the closing fifteen minutes or so, when the deterioration in Neil's condition results in his being relocated from his home to a hospice institution. His formidable powers of communication are by this stage ebbing away in a manner that nearly all viewers will find powerfully harrowing.
"Necessarily tough going, these sequences deliver what are in effect a series of knockout punches that leave us dazedly counting our blessings. But so firmly have Neil's particular wishes expressed - that he wants the film to promote awareness of MND and encourage fund-raising into the research of possible cures - that I Am Breathing never feels in any way intrusive or exploitative."