The Air I Breathe : Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, Love - Can they ever be separated?
Feb 5, 2009
Review by Mona Ladyconsumer
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Four interesting stories with decent performances from Whitaker and Fraser.
Cons:Tries to be something memorable and deep, but fails.
The Bottom Line: It's not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's not the best either. It's just "ok". See it if there's nothing else on.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
The Air I Breathe is one very odd movie. There's an underlying theme that make the movie appear to be a very deep, intellectual movie, with an important message. Yet it fails to deliver. What's left is a strange movie that's a bit difficult to piece together.
The four chapters are titled Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love. Each has a main character known only by the chapter's title.
Happiness (Forest Whitaker)- a down-on-his-luck man who attempts to find happiness in a shady gambling hall, where things go terribly wrong.
Pleasure (Brendan Fraser)- a man who can see a few minutes into the future, but is frustrated at his inability to change the outcomes he sees.
Sorrow (Sarah Michelle Gellar)- a singer whose contract was handed over to the mob as part of a payoff. Sorrow is unhappy being owned by the mob, but leaving won't be so easy.
Love (Kevin Bacon)- a doctor, madly in love with his friend's dying wife. She needs a transfusion, but her rare blood type is difficult to find. Love resorts to less-than-ideal means to obtain the blood she needs.
So there you have it. Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love. The point is that these are the four parts of every person's life. And you can't experience one without also experiencing the others. Thus the four emotions are forever intertwined within us all. Similarly, the four chapters of this movie intertwine, sometimes in very unexpected ways.
The performances were pretty good. Brendan Fraser was terrific, showing us a man completely frustrated with his "gift" - one that brings him more pain and anxiety than joy. It's his quest to find true pleasure that really drives the movie.
Whitaker does a great job, too. A troubled man who tries to take a shortcut to happiness, his pain evident, as he learns the inevitable truth about shortcuts.
Kevin Bacon was good, but his role is a small one, with limited opportunity to really shine. As for Gellar - she was fine (and absolutely gorgeous) in her role.
However, there were several things that happened that made absolutely no sense to me, mostly in the Happiness segment. This led to my feeling that the plot connections were completely contrived, rather than events that flow naturally from one cause to a logical effect. As a result, the movie didn't gel together as well as it could have.
Overall this was an "ok" movie. I was interested to see how the four stories would connect. With a non-linear timeline, there were several "ah-ha!" moments when a missing piece of the puzzle falls into place. But I'm not sure it pulled off its "deep intellectual message" particularly well. I will give it a hesitant recommendation, but with a warning: See it for its performances and the four interesting stories. But don't look for the "big message"; it's not there.
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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