Breathe In

An English exchange student (Felicity Jones) boards with a family in upstate New York and begins to stir deep feelings in the father (Guy Pearce), an unhappy music teacher at the high school where she’s studying. That’s about it as far as the story is concerned, but this indie drama by Drake Doremus (who directed Jones previously in the excellent Like Crazy) impressed me with the amount of mileage it gets from the simple premise without the affair even being consummated. Much of the buildup consists of quiet, unemphatic scenes in which the visitor silently notes the tension that’s developed over the years between the teacher and his wife (Amy Ryan), and the forbidden relationship is all the more engrossing for the fact that both participants recoil from it until they can no longer resist. Ben York Jones collaborated with Doremus on the screenplay; with Mackenzie Davis.