'A Mouthful of Air' Review
Over the past year and a half I’ve screened five new films starring Amanda Seyfried. One of them, “Mank”, earned Seyfried her first Oscar nomination. Her latest picture reinforces her status as one of the most talented actresses working today, even if the material isn’t up to her standards.
“A Mouthful of Air” is adapted from a 2003 novel by Amy Koppelman, who based it on real-life emotions and experiences. Koppelman serves as writer and director. Seyfried plays Julie Davis. Setting the tone is an uncomfortable to watch opening scene in which Julie, a new mom, attempts to take her own life.
Julie’s husband Ethan (Finn Wittrock), mother Bobbi (Amy Irving) and doctor (an underused Paul Giamatti) do their best to help Julie deal with her serious battle with postpartum depression. The film is set in the 1990’s, at a time with this affliction was not fully understood.
Unfortunately, after the first half hour or so, the script veers away from this interesting storyline. We’re introduced to other issues in Julie’s life. Scenes involving her troubled relationships (including flashbacks to her troubled ‘at home’ times as a child) and her current profession as a children’s storybook author take the focus away from where it belonged.
Some scenes do ring true, such as when Julie questions how she’s looked at by others and how she sees herself as a mother. But there are too many times that cause you to think, “What’s going on now and how does it matter?” Sloppy editing and story decisions are noticeable. And as this saga heads down a predictable path, Koppelman tries to be prophetic with her messaging, but comes-up short.
“A Mouthful of Air” definitely has important things to say about a very important subject. But this is another one of those cases when the depth and power contained in a novel didn’t find its way into a screenplay.