I remember seeing trailers for the movie Breathe last year, and thinking to myself that I really wanted to go and see it. This new film had something I love – historical romance.
Until this past month, however, I had not watched it.
One night my mom and I decided that instead of watching something that the boys picked out, we were going to watch a romantic movie! And, of course, I instantly knew which one we should watch.
Without further ado, then, here is my review of this historical romance!
***Warning: There will be spoilers ahead, I don’t think there are really any plot twist spoilers – if you’ve seen the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer though, then there will be spoilers***
The movie opens with a beautiful landscape scene, and soon zooms in closer on several characters, including Robin Cavendish the protagonist. He’s chatting with several buddies of his as they play cricket, and in the distance there is a small crowd watching. When one of his friend’s realizes who has caught Robin’s attention, he tells him that it would be futile – she’s a player.
She, being Diana Blacker, is a pampered young lady who does as she pleases. And yet, she decides to marry Robin – despite him having no great inheritance, and despite her twin brother’s urgings to find someone better.
They are married in 1957.
The scene cuts to Kenya, where Robin and Diana have traveled for his work. Some people question why she would want to go with him this far, and she retorts that she wants to be with him and finds the work interesting.
As they are riding back one day, Diana surprises him with the news that she is pregnant. Thrilled, Robin has tears in his eyes and kisses her.
It is 1958.
As the camera cuts, the next image shows a pregnant Diana laughing and talking with another woman, as they watch their husbands play a game in the background. Humorously, a hula hoop is introduced and Robin has a go at it for the first time. Suddenly, his vision grows dizzy and he falls to the ground, before quickly recovering and jokingly saying he must have overdone it.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Something worse has happened, and all too soon, Robin reaches his friend for help one night, before collapsing. He’s rushed to the hospital. The doctor asks him to move his arm and he is barely able to twitch a finger. Then, his breathing becomes uncertain and shouts of “get him on ice!” are echoed around the room.
Robin has contracted polio, and is permanently paralyzed – only able to breathe with a ventilator. He is twenty-eight years old.
The rest of the film shows their journey through dealing with this, and how they overcame a seemingly impossible life-altering condition.
One of my favorite components of the movie was the love between Robin and Diana. After becoming paralyzed, Robin wants to die – he tells his wife that she could still find someone else, start over.
Diana is having none of this and refuses to give up on him. Not only that, but at twenty-five years old, her fierce loyalty and commitment to someone who can do nothing, can offer nothing for her, is extremely admirable.
It would have been easy for her to do so. Easy to abandon him, take her little son, and find someone else to marry.
But she didn’t.
Because Diana Cavendish understood what true love actually means. The actual definition of love has nothing to do with what we get in return. It has everything to do with selflessness, compassion, respect.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This movie does an amazing example of showing what love actually looks like, and in a world where divorce is common, we need more films like this that demonstrate how love and commitment in a marriage work.
Another thing I really appreciated, was the light it shed on people with disabilities. I am not paralyzed, or in a wheelchair, so I can’t speak for those people, but I do have a medical condition, and as such, I know how important it is to be represented in film. So I was glad that they were able to do that with the many people who have disabilities in the world.
Not to mention, the history behind the wheelchair and movable ventilator. I can’t even imagine how many lives were forever changed by Robin and Diana’s work. With their invention, for the first time, people with significant disabilities were able to live outside of a hospital.
I also appreciated the relationship shown between Jonathan and Diana. Obviously, the film focused more on Diana and Robin’s relationship, however, the scenes that they had as mother and son, were strong and showed how much they relied on each other for strength.
Overall, I loved the movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely need to! If you have seen it, what did you think?
~ Southern Dreamer
P.S. If you weren’t aware, Robin and Diana’s son produced the film. So. Yeah, right in the feels xD