As a humble film critic, one can’t pretend to guess at the theory of everything in respect to the physical forces of the Universe. However, there may be a theory of everything concerning biopics, since, as The Theory of Everything demonstrates, they can’t help but all seem exactly the same. Surely, the uniform execution of tropes in storytelling, production, and acting across disparate movies point to the presence of some law underlying reality. Either that or biopics just make people really, really lazy.
Drake Doremus’s latest film, Breathe In, is a taut, emotional drama, starring Guy Pearce as a middle-aged high school music teacher who has never abandoned his dream of becoming a full-time musician. His character, Keith, is living in a state of continual but indifferent regret; despite having a loving wife (Amy Ryan), highly-achieving daughter (Mackenzie Davis) and beautiful house in upstate New York, he yearns for the exciting bohemian lifestyle of his youth, of which only his passion for music remains. The domestic inertia is broken when the family accept an English exchange student into their home, the 18-year-old piano prodigy, Sophie (Felicity Jones), who rekindles Keith’s romantic nostalgia and forces him to revaluate his responsibilities to his family and himself.