Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Air I Breathe

Go To

The Air I Breathe is a 2007 drama film directed by Jieho Lee.

An ancient Chinese proverb states that life consists of four emotional cornerstones: Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love. The film consists of four plots following events in the life of four people (Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Kevin Bacon) representing these emotions, as they interact in subtle ways.

This film provides examples of:

  • Bank Robbery: Happiness tries to rob a bank after the gangster "Fingers" threatens him with having his fingers cut off if he won't pay back a gambling debt. Happiness is shot and killed by the cops, but the money manages to aid another character, Sorrow.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Trista is a newly popular singer, but falls in the clutches of a gangster when her manager gives away her contract to pay off a gambling debt. She starts Drowning Her Sorrows before she is mobbed by a group of fans and paparazzi.
  • Fingore: The gangster "Fingers" acquired his nickname because of his habit of removing the fingers of those who don't pay him their debts.
  • Hyperlink Story: The film follows four separate plots and characters that are tied together in some ways, mostly through their connection to Fingers.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Sorrow is about to jump off the hospital roof after Fingers tries to force her to abort her baby. She is rescued in time by Love, who was looking for Sorrow because of her rare blood type.
  • Look Both Ways: Trista has a memory of her father trying to entertain her by absentmindedly skipping in the rain on the street before being hit by a bus.
  • Nameless Narrative: The four main characters are known only by their Theme Naming, respectively Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love, and these are All There in the Script. Their real names are never spoken either, though Sorrow is referred to several times by her stage name "Trista".
  • Prescience Is Predictable: "Pleasure" is a mob enforcer who has the ability to see into the future. He seems to be thoroughly depressed by his ''being nothing but a witness to coming events, unable to help''.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Sorrow finds out that she has become pregnant with Pleasure's baby after Fingers killed him. She runs away with the money from Happiness' bank robbery to start a new life.
  • Theme Naming: All the four main characters are named for a Chinese proverb that sees life as being divided between four emotional cornerstones. Forest Whitaker's character is Happiness, Brendan Fraser's character is Pleasure, Sarah Michelle Gellar's character is Sorrow, and Kevin Bacon's character is Love.
  • There Are No Coincidences: "There are some people who believe in coincidences. I am not one of them."