Before I was famous it was a lot easier to review movies because I didn’t have to worry about the people who actually made them googling my reviews, but these days I have to be a lot more guarded in what I write. Fortunately, I have only good things to say about Breathe In (2014) starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones.

So the other day I’m visiting my parents in the suburbs and the snow starts pouring down. I knew it was going to snow that evening but I had no idea it would do so with such speed and intensity. I was scheduled to meet some clients way out in the country but the driving conditions were hazardous, so I rescheduled the appointments. Finally a night off and on a cold cozy night to boot, I thought; this calls for a movie!

Impressed with how hard I’ve been working at my job, my father offered to cook me some French Toast made of English muffins (my favorite!) which would go perfectly with my movie. Unfortunately, my mother was dominating the huge screen TV watching comedies (yawn), so I took my plate of French Toast and headed to the basement which also has a big screen TV (but not nearly as big).

I went to movies on demand, and started scrolling through the newest releases for something dark and haunting and stumbled on Breathe In. Here’s the trailer:

The movie stars Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones but to me, the real star was Mackenzie Davis, who I just found out it is Canadian (attended McGill University). I’m not praising her because she’s Canadian or because I know her…everyone thinks all Canadians celebrities know each other, nothing could be further from the truth…but because her performance was interesting and original.

Davis plays Lauren, a high school girl who must share her bedroom with a foreign exchange student (spoiler alert) named Sophie (played by Felicity Jones). At first they get along great and Lauren introduces Sophie to all her friends, but tension builds as Lauren’s friends seem to like Sophie better than they like her, and Lauren’s father is more impressed by Sophie’s piano skills than he is with Lauren’s swimming talent. But when Lauren discovers that not only is Sophie getting intimate with a boy Lauren likes, but also with Lauren’s own father (played by Guy Pearce), she goes ballistic.

Lauren’s father works as a music teacher at the school Lauren and Sophie attend and when he runs into his daughter in the hall, he doesn’t know that she saw him on a blanket in the woods with Sophie. He tries to say hello but she says nothing. She just looks at him with eyes full of tears and face that contorts, before regaining its composure and then contorting again. She storms off, much to the confusion of her perverted clueless father.

That night she doesn’t come home for dinner.

Nor does she come home for bed time.

But deep into the night, when everyone is sleeping, she comes home.

She slowly makes her way to her bedroom that she is sharing with Sophie, and approaches the bed where Sophie is sleeping and starts touching Sophie’s face with her fingers. Startled and confused, Sophie wakes up and greets her. And in one of the creepiest scenes in a recent movie, Lauren quietly orders Sophie to sit up, and to stop breathing so loudly. But as soon as Sophie sits up, Lauren wrestles her back down, pinning her to the bed.

“This is my house,” Lauren keeps saying, over and over.

Sophie realizes she has no choice but to find somewhere else to live.

I watch a lot of horror films, but they don’t disturb me as much as haunting dramas about the dark side of suburbia do. This movie hit just right the tone, and much like American Beauty (an even better film) exposed the fact that behind the perfect facade of your all American suburban dad may lurk an evil pervert, secretly lusting after young girls. No matter how well you think you know someone, you can never know what goes on in their private mental world. That’s a lot more terrifying that any horror film.

At least the “young” girl he was lusting after was played by a woman in her thirties, which not only made me feel young again, but also made me much less creeped out by the movie. I think film makers deliberately hire old actors to play teenagers to comfort the audience with delusions of youth. Or maybe the flim makers are just comforting themselves.

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