Keep Breathing, Melissa Barrera does it all

Melissa Barrera shelters under a fallen tree in Keep Breathing

Keep Breathing, a limited series, is partly exciting suspense in a survival story, partly finding your true self at a perilous moment, and partly ridiculous plot devices. The story is uneven in the extreme, but Melissa Barrera takes full advantage of her character to show her range and talent.

Keep Breathing is an unfolding and uncovering of all the facets of Liv’s (Melissa Barrera) personality and life history. The story is told through many, many flashbacks and multiple hallucinations as Liv struggles to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness.

Liv hitches a ride with two men she doesn’t know on a small single engine plane to get where she wants to go when the airlines cancelled her flight. The plane crashes and she’s the only survivor.

Melissa Barrera surveys the forest in Keep Breathing

She’s in the middle of a vast forest. She has grit, she’s determined, she won’t give up, and she’s smart. Each obstacle she faces reminds her of something in her past. Her parents (Juan Pablo Espinosa and Florencia Lozano) split when she was young. The young Liv is played by Joselyn Picard.

She also has frequent memories, and perhaps regrets, about her relationship with her sort of boyfriend, Danny (Jeff Wilbusch).

It’s the flashbacks where we get to know her. Her unhappy childhood. Her guilt about her mentally ill mother, her ice-queen persona as a lawyer, her impulsive drunkenness, the reason for her stupid decision to take off with the two guys at the airport.

As she gets hungrier and weaker, the hallucinations begin. Usually they involve someone telling her she isn’t good enough – messages she’s heard inside her head her whole life. Her mother and Sam (Austin Stowell) from the crashed plane and others whisper in her ear telling her she’ll never make it home.

The series was directed by Maggie Kiley and Rebecca Rodriguez. I thought the direction was strong. The suspense held and the perils were many. But the writing was often just plain silly.

Melissa Barrera cries in the forest in Keep Breathing

Liv crashes into a cave where a slab of rock falls on her and she crawls out uninjured? Really? She falls from a great height and only suffers a sprained ankle. Really? Plus, the ending was preposterous (and rushed).

As a realistic story about survival, the series was unbelievable. As a character study into the mind and heart of Liv, it succeeded fairly well. It comes down to this: if you want to see a Melissa Barrera showcase, you have to put up with some unlikely plot twists.

You’ll find this series on Netflix. The episodes are short and there are only 6, so it’s a fairly quick watch. If you see it, let me know what you thought.

2 thoughts on “Keep Breathing, Melissa Barrera does it all”

  1. I watched this a couple of months ago. I’m retired Air Force pilot and received rigorous survival training, so I’m used to depictions of survival situations being unrealistic. You are correct, but I will give the show credit for her determination to survive. That was presented well. Honestly, I fast forwarded through some of the flashbacks. There were too many of them and “I get it.” Lots of baggage. All of that aside, I enjoyed the series.

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