I Am Breathing (4 stars)

I Am Breathing

Deeply moving extraordinary/ordinary story of man suffering from Motor Neurone Disease

This remarkable documentary co-directed by Scottish filmmakers Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon is at once devastating and deeply moving. It documents the last months in the life of 33-year-old Yorkshireman Neil Platt as he deals with the increasingly debilitating effects of Motor Neurone Disease. Davie and McKinnon join Platt at the point he is paralysed from the neck down and they stay with him until he leaves for his final days in a hospice.

Having decided to document his last days through a blog, Platt is very much an active participant in and driving force of the film. Interviews with Platt are mixed with excerpts from his blog (read by an actor), clips of him during his younger days and contributions from his wife Louise.

All of this would be moving enough, but Platt’s story is given even greater emotional clout because he is diagnosed with his fatal illness as he is about to become a father. Knowing that his son will be barely three years old, and therefore unlikely to remember his dad, Platt is determined to document his life, in order to leave his boy something to know him by. It’s an ‘extraordinary/ordinary’ story, and one that might have been utterly depressing, or worse, horribly cloying were it not for the sensitivity with which Davie and McKinnon have approached their subject and were it not for Platt’s incredible and admirable passion for life.

Screening at Filmhouse, Thu 20 Jun and Cineworld Fountainpark, Sun 23 Jun, as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013. Limited release from Fri 21 Jun.

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I Am Breathing

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • Denmark / UK
  • 1h 12min
  • Directed by: Emma Davie/Morag McKinnon
  • UK release: 21 June 2013

Documentary about a man facing the onset of Motor Neurone Disease.