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  • Writer's pictureSteve

A Mouthful of Air (2021)

Firstly, I think the idea of putting up a sign at the beginning of the film, pre-opening credits, that you might not have a great time with this film is either genius or just plain shameful. Are movie makers now advocating a particular mood to be in before watching their film?

Perhaps they think if you go into this happy then you're going to view this more favourably? Do they imagine we are nothing more than easily swayed little mood ducklings that cannot be faced with their reality in case we throw ourselves off the nearest roof? Wow, they really don't know us at all, do they...

Aside from my continued assertion that Disney have modelled the eyes of every princess since Mamma Mia on Amanda Siegfried, being so vibrant, expressive and stunning, this casting of a young, mentally troubled mother practically picks itself. Emilia Clarke also would have made quite the formidable character of Julie, that Seyfried slips into almost effortlessly here. Both may be in their mid-thirties these days, but both easily can pass for at least a decade younger.

Amy Koppelman both writes and directs her own novel here, so this is something of a 'good as it gets' scenario, assuming she has the smarts to do both jobs as well as she writes books. For a debut in the Director's chair, she does a perfectly adequate job though this comes across a bit made-for-tv a little too often not to notice. Still carefully handled, this much at least is required when trying to articulate depression on a screen, particularly displayed by an individual you imagine has no reason to be suffering from such a condition.

This is careful, considered and not as dramatic as you might imagine, but filled with 'stop and think' moments that often say much more than the words spoken, which is a talent Koppelman should be applauded for. Individually challenging as whilst mental illness can effect anyone and in a myriad of different ways, Koppelman is direct and specific about her subject matter, without apologising for all of the things she may not have touched upon, due to these not being relevant to the telling of this story, though not diminishing the viewers' potential opinion of a subject they may be familiar with, though not directly as expressed here by design.

I was left grateful for the experience of seeing the film and it was much more satisfying than I was expecting. The performances are all very strong, though Seyfried makes or breaks the film and is engaging throughout for a number of different reasons, some good and some less so, but is very good value for her casting.

Recommended more for the approach and delivery than the actual content, because as the warning pre-opening alludes to, this is real enough to question yourself and those you love as much as the characters on screen.

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