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Broken English
Broken English
Actors: Parker Posey, Melvil Poupaud, Gena Rowlands, Drea De Matteo, Tim Guinee
Director: Zoe R. Cassavetes
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
PG-13     2007     1hr 33min

Though made by the daughter of iconoclastic filmmaker John Cassavetes, Broken English is a surprisingly old-fashioned affair. Just as her friend Sofia Coppola wrote about a woman much like herself for Lost in Translation, ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Parker Posey, Melvil Poupaud, Gena Rowlands, Drea De Matteo, Tim Guinee
Director: Zoe R. Cassavetes
Creators: Zoe R. Cassavetes, Andrew Fierberg, Christina Weiss Lurie, David Atlan Jackson, Jason Kliot, Jean-Baptiste Babin, Jennifer Halpern
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Magnolia
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/21/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

I just want to be loved
Raychel G. Terschluse | St.Louis, MO | 08/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Have you ever known that you would just love a movie without having seen it or heard anything about it? I was at Best Buy and I just saw the cover and recognized Parker Posey and bought it without thinking, a little impulsive. Or maybe I just always expect great things from Parker. From the beginning lyrics and opening scene I knew I was in for a treat.

Parker plays Nora Wilder, an average twentysomething female just kind of living her life, but not loving life. In the opening scene we see her get ready for a dinner party and she is walking around anxiously. Sipping red wine and staring at herself in the mirror we can tell that she is a little broken. She is beautiful but she doesn't know it. She is unsure of herself and is afraid.

All of her friends seem happy and Nora just kind of tip toes through life. She dates but nothing ever goes her way, though no fault of her own. She just wants to be truly loved, but she has no love for herself. Nora reminds me of myself and I am sure every woman has a little Nora in her.

But one night Nora bumps into a man that takes a notice to her and through all her fighting and insecurities she submits and lets herself get swept away. But she is so desperate for someone to love her that she has put a wall up because she is ultimately afraid of getting hurt and this has created somewhat of an anxiety disorder. There is a great scene that shows just how vulnerable she is. She is having dinner with a man and thinks that he is mad at her so she excuses herself to the bathroom and starts to yell at herself for making a mistake.She ultimately ruins the evening because she has to run home to take medication for her anxiety.

The plot thickens when she falls in love with the mystery guy but he is only in town for a few days and he is leaving for Paris soon. Will she stay or will she go? She needs to decide what her life has become and what makes her happy.

This is a long movie- and I enjoyed every second of it. This is a movie about an insecure woman who is coming to grips with her insecurities and her emotions and decides to take charge. But this isn't an overnight solution- it takes time and heart. Broken English really touches at reality and our real relationships with ourselves. We don't always hold our head up high and we often try to go through life unnoticed. But in the end the message is clear- to be loved we must learn to love ourselves."
Nora Gets Real
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 06/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Nora (the usually whacked-out though always effective Parker Posey) is a late 30's Guest Relations manager in a groovy NYC hotel. She is at the end of her rope relationship-wise having spent the bulk of her romantic life avoiding love and having love avoid her. We all know a Nora: hungry for a man, a relationship but when a "good catch" (whatever that means to Nora) comes near, Nora thinks of a hundred reaasons why it wouldn't work and retreats behind the emotional wall she has psychically built for herself: a wall of regret and lame excuses held together with the cement of many years of tears and self-loathing.
Her mother, Vivien (the National treasure and director Zoë Cassavetes' mother as well, Gena Rowlands) encourages her to grab life by the neck and shake it until it releases something good and so Nora, uncharacteristically attends the party of one of her co-workers and in the process meets a laid-back, good-natured Frenchman, Julien (Melvil Poupaud of "Time to Leave") whose "Broken English" has Nora confusing his saying "I'm hungry" with "I'm Angry."
Nora and Julien spend an idyllic weekend in New York and director Cassavetes manages to avoid all the usual clichés as Nora basically freaks out, pulls back and unfurls again both emotionally and physically while Julien watches, reacts in a calming, encouraging manner much to Nora's surprise who is both attracted and repelled by Julien's coolness.
"Broken English" is a small film not likely to attract much attention but that would be a shame because what Cassavetes has managed to do is to make not only the ridiculous sublime but to also make, in it's quiet, well observed way... the sublime human and believable.
A Little Zoë Cassavetes Triumph
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"BROKEN ENGLISH has so many of the elements of films that are becoming difficult to find these days - superb intelligent script, a story that is frankly what it is instead of an overdone parody of itself, a director who knows how to pace a storyline to keep it compelling, and a cast of first class actors who have the gift of diving right to the core of characters we all meet every day and making us care about them. Writer/director Zoë Cassavetes may be young in her trade, but she here gives evidence that she clearly knows her way around creating fine movies!

Nora Wilder (a mesmerizingly fine Parker Posey) has looks, a good job as a client relations director of a smart New York hotel, but she is now in her thirties and in comparison to her friends she is a social wasteland. She simply cannot find a satisfying relationship in this time of fast one night stands. Her mother (Gena Rowlands) is supportive of her plight and her best friend Audrey (Drea De Mateo, proving that she indeed is a fine actress) who is supposedly in a 'good marriage' with Mark (Tom Guinee) understands her needs and is willing to help, but all Nora can end up with are losers like mouthy actor Nick Gable (Justin Theroux) and morning after hangovers - until she encounters Frenchman Julien (Melvil Poupaud). Julien sees and appreciates Nora for who she is and while Nora seems on the brink of having found the perfect guy, her past history of failed romances prevents her from staying in the moment. But when Julien must return to Paris (seemingly the door of exit for yet another mismatch), Nora eventually gathers her courage and accompanied by Audrey sets off to Paris in hopes of joining the effervescent Julien. In Paris the two women search but cannot find Julien, but what Nora finds is herself - and that is rewarded by a climax that brings the film to a satisfying close.

Though Parker Posey has given us some excellent independent film roles in the past, nothing can match the magic she brings to this role. In fact the entire cast is so fine and so well motivated and directed by Cassavetes that every detail of the film is polished and shines like a the little triumph the film is. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 07
Nothing Broken About This 'English'
Rudy Palma | NJ | 09/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Writer/director Zoe Cassavettes' "Broken English" is an engaging yet understated slice of life that zipped in and out of arthouse theaters in early summer. Its message ("you must love yourself before love finds you") is not only the least virginal territory a screenwriter could dare to tread, it is the essence of gooey, sentimental sap. What really makes it worthwhile is its gorgeous shots of Paris and its star Parker Posey, who is as radiant as her acting ability is boundless. Just when you think you've seen all she can do, she proves you wrong and comes off effortless all the while.

Posey is Nora Wilder, a wine-guzzling train ready to jump the track. Sure, she may not have a man, but everything else seems in order - a steady job, a spiffy Manhattan apartment, healthy relationships with her friends and family. At her core, however, resides a deep-seated insecurity that in her mid-30s is coming to a head.

"What is wrong with me?," she asks herself. "Why can't I meet someone nice?"

She then concludes she must be the problem: "I think I must be doing something horribly wrong."

Her mother Vivien, played by acting legend Gena Rowlands, tries to help but only makes her feel more self-conscious. "The good ones get snapped up so quickly at your age," she says in a half-hearted effort to console her daughter.

Nora gets set up on dates that, despite herself, she agrees to go on. Whether she is the reason behind her lack of success is not as important as her lack of self-assuredness. When at last she finds something worth holding onto in a young Frenchman named Julien, played by Melvil Poupad, she finds herself at an unexpected crossroads, flakey as ever in the face of making tough decisions.

She soon heads off to Paris with her friend Audrey, played to perfection by Drea de Matteo, in tow. Is Julien her only objective, however, or is there more to her journey than even Nora may know herself?

Cassavettes' script at once appears to be a litmus test for romance in a modern, fast-paced world, and it is, but it still requires that the viewer suspend disbelief at several junctures in the plot. This chips away at the film's merit slightly, but it does not invalidate it. The acting is sufficient at worst and stellar at best across the board, and Nora's personal predicaments will be instantly relatable to anyone at all who is introverted, shy or just plain challenged when it comes to relationships.

Like her brother Nick did when he directed the megahit 2004 adaptation of "The Notebook" by romance author Nicholas Sparks, Cassavettes casts her mother (Rowlands) in a small role. Unlike him, however, she does not maximize the emotional schmaltz to the level the script allows for. "Broken English" is by no means a happily-ever-after story of "Cinderella" proportions, and if it were it would insult the intellectual capabilities of its viewers.

With a search for love as its driving force and a complex female protagonist, "Broken English" may seem to smatter of cookie cutter Lifetime fare. What makes the difference is that despite its faults the plot boasts a good head on its shoulders that not only portrays both sexes fairly and honestly but boasts one of our generation's most underappreciated film actresses doing what she does best from the first frame to the last. For that, it is a worthy 93 minutes.