Mental health is a serious subject in the world we live in today and is especially so for those who work in the field. In Every Breathe You Take, the psychiatrist has his own mental health challenges which makes the movie somewhat hard to watch. It is, however, an enticing film and quite suspenseful as the conflict gets out of control. There are moments of misdirection which oddly is where I found Every Breathe You Take was able to hold my attention. However, even during times when I was intrigued, those moments did not provide much light given all the darkness of the film.
Every Breathe You Take takes place in British Columbia. The film’s focus is on a family that is dealing with grief after the loss of a son, and on a daughter who was just expelled from school. The father is Philip who is a psychiatrist (played by Casey Affleck), The mother is Grace (played by Michelle Monaghan), and the daughter is Lucy (played by Linda Eisley). Philip’s life is his patients and helping them improve their lives. However, he tries to ignore the grief he is suffering after the loss of his son and does not know how to deal with the situation involving his daughter being expelled from school. He devotes his time to his patients to keep him distracted from the emotions he has after his son’s death. Philip’s life hits uncharted territory when he finds out one of his patients has died (supposedly of suicide). He comes across a man named James (played by Sam Claflin) and James says he is the brother of the deceased patient. Life for Philip and his family takes a turn for the worst when he lets James into his life. James puts Philip’s life on the line by making up lies to ruin Philip’s career and utilizing other insane tactics. Philip tries to figure out if James is really the brother of his deceased patient, or if he is just mentally insane. Given Philip’s personal situation, he is not mentally prepared to handle the danger that James poses.
Even though the film is not pleasant, it is the right role for Casey Affleck. He is known to play characters who are depressed, ill-fated, or are caught in life-threatening situations. In this role, he plays someone suffering from depression as he did in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea (2016). Affleck is again brilliant in this film, because he has a way of hiding his emotions in sessions with his patients. During the movie, you can hear the emotion in his voice as he tries to relate to his patients. The question is whether he is mentally prepared to be a psychiatrist given the circumstances in his own life and the loss of a patient.
Every Breathe You Take is emotional and suspenseful. I enjoyed it for the suspense, but the emotional elements were a challenge. It pushes the envelope with the topic of mental health issues. However, for those who are interested in suspense based upon a puzzle of lies, deceit, and destroyed reputations, then you may enjoy Every Breathe You Take. Before watching the film, I suggest researching it more given it is heavy with many sensitive elements. Therefore, I give this one three stars.