Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien NR

Amazon Instant Video

(22) IMDb 7.9/10

Academy Award winning portrait of writer Mark O'Brien, who contracted polio as a child and spent much of his life in an iron lung.

Starring:
Mark O'Brien, Elizabeth Duvall
Runtime:
36 minutes

Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Jessica Yu
Starring Mark O'Brien, Elizabeth Duvall
Supporting actors Ian Berzon
Studio Icarus Films
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
Indeed, it gives a finer appreciation for the whole movie.
Fred Forman
You will feel like you got more than 35 minutes worth of movie out of it.
Holmz
Mark O'Brien is an inspiring person who has done so much with his life.
Ocean lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Holmz on October 22, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
If you are looking for a happy movie, then this is not the movie that you are looking for.

It is the saddest and most heart wrenching movie I have seen, and I have seen a few.
But equally it is a movie with a lot of hope and dignity and is intimate.
And one of the best documentaries I have seen.
You will feel like you got more than 35 minutes worth of movie out of it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Margaret in NY on November 8, 2012
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I just watched this film for the second time. The first time was as a graduate student in health advocacy at Sarah Lawrence--it was part of the program, along with reading about Harriet McBryde Johnson, who advocated for the disabled (see [...]

It is an opportunity to learn from the experts. Mark O'Brien is deadly funny and is now the subject of a film, "The Sessions." One of the most heartbreaking lines in the original documentary is that he feels he needs to become lovable, not really realizing that he already is. I take to heart his thought that we ALL become disabled eventually, unless we die first.

O'Brien's spirit is too strong for this film to be depressing--it is difficult to truly consider, and it is thought-provoking. Filmed in short snippets, it is under 40 minutes in length. There are subtitles because the audio is not always clear. Well worth the time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jackie on November 1, 2012
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Mark O'Brien was a true man. He did not consider his disability an excuse for not accomplishing his goals - it was his driver. There are so many technological advancements now that he would have been even more prolific in his writing. This man was a true inspiration and I can only mourn his loss.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Fred Forman on November 6, 2012
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If you plan on seeing The Sessions, seeing Breathing Lessons first is essential. Once you get to know the real Mark O'Brien, seeing John Hawkes portray him is astonishing. Indeed, it gives a finer appreciation for the whole movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kilgore Trout on December 23, 2012
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Why is it that people like this gentleman, Mark O'Brien and the late Ed Roberts--both of whom have done so much to bring the issues of living with disability to the attention of the world's gate-keepers--are relegated to live their lives in squalor and loneliness in their last days?!

I loved how Mr. O'Brien not only talked about issues surrounding his schooling and living autonomously, but also spoke frankly about his yearning for a soulmate, the touch of another person sexually and being seen by others as a total person with the needs of any living being here on earth.

He really gets across the truism that all who walk this earth will some day have to live with their own disability and possibly go through the ostricism that he did in his all-too-short lifetime.

This film should be mandatory for all people to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Careful buyer on January 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful documentary because it shows the reality of living independently, but with a fairly complete disability. Mark O'Brien is intelligent, and funny! He sends some very appropriate messages about the challenges of being disabled, the acceptance (by society) of limitations, and the responsibility of both the person and society to allow him and the disabled to live fully, whatever life in which they exist. After all, his brain functions beautifully. I am so glad I watched this, and probably would not have done so if it had not been for the movie, The Sessions.
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By Don Montgomery on February 4, 2014
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I gave this the highest rating as it was truly enlightening and open portrayal of a man who overcame catastrophic hardships and gave life and beauty to us all.
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By PapaJoe on February 1, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
A sensitive documentary with a gentle, yet spicy humor, much like the subject of the film. The documentary captured the feel of his writings.
I also watched the movie "The Sessions", based on Mark's experience; it was outstanding as well.
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