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3.8 out of 5 stars
Broken English
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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The always excellent and talented Parker Posey finally has a role where she's in every scene; she is magnificent. I've read all the other Amazon comments, and I'm sad that so many missed the point. Often compared to Sofia Coppola's debut film, "Lost in Translation", which made light of the human condition, "Broken English" is more about the true life kinds of things that are funny or sad, depending on how we deal with them. I was never bored. Ms. Posey commanded attention at all times, and I was eager to find out the situation in which she would next find herself. Excellent performances from Justin Theroux, Drea di Matteo and Ms. Cassavetes own mom, the great Gena Rowlands, flow naturally; Melvil Poupaud, as Julien, the French connection, was quite sweet and fine. He is indeed a beautiful man, looking better as the film goes on, and as Nora gets to know him better. I can relate very much to Nora's character, especially when she goes to a party she doesn't want to be at, and then meets the right person. Ms. Cassavetes, in a DVD extra, refers to this as a comedy. It's much more. I don't want to blab away the plot, as others did, but this is definitely worth seeing. Parker Posey's diversity was so well explored in the mock-umentary films of Christopher Guest. She is an Indie darling, and for good reason. Ms. Cassavetes, too, has proven herself, and I'm waiting for her next endeavor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is not cute, funny or anything close to comedy. It's sad, depressing, tedious and unpleasant. I watched it all the way through to see if it ever became comedic and it didn't. It did become slightly more upbeat towards the end, but the saturation of intense mental instability and substance abuse throughout most of the movie was not entertaining.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This movie is honestly one of my favorite movies ever. Being a New Yorker, I can relate to the character. The music is great and the scenes are very reminiscent of my experiences here...

I love this movie if you're a single girl who is looking to find yourself and find passion again...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2007
Format: DVD
This is one of those great movies that somehow disappears in the tidal wave of violent and special effects laden movies that populate most cinema screens. If you loved Amelie, you'll love this movie.
Posey is sweet, contemplative, and in her own words "desperate" as a clerk at a hotel...she feels disatisfied with life, and especially love...
Until...she meets a comely French man who treats her as though she is something worth loving/wanting
Though the conclusion leaves many questions...it's an achingly good romantic dramedy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I was curious to check out this movie once after reading about it and seeing the trailer online. As a over 30 single guy, the premise appealed to me and I could identify with a lot of the things Parker Posey's character goes through. I loved the movie, it makes some very insightful (and hilarious) observations about feeling a little lost and left behind. But above all I adored Parker Posey's performance. Definitely worth checking out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
About the most pitiful movie I've seen in years. I didn't finish. The acting is horrible, the plot is meaningless, and the "French" guy has no charisma and has a really fake accent. It's all about sex, smoking, alcohol, and the plight of an unmarried 30-something. Whatever. I'd rather watch paint dry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
5 stars... I believe I would have loved this at any age of my adulthood. I do love Parker Posey and have loved her for years. But I did not pick this film to watch because of her. In fact I almost didnt watch it. So glad I did. This film is so real, and so soulfully grainy (even the camera work and quality of the cinematography is that way)... it hits home for me, who at age 40, is awkwardly puzzled by the search to find lasting love, dating, online dating, etc. I just feel worn out and harassed by it all at this point. Parker plays this character and this dilemma to a T. Its actually so real that there were moments where I was squeamish and uncomfortable. Basically, she's a woman in her late 30's whose life is alright, but certainly didnt go as she dreamed it would. She's sort of depressed, but still giving life a go, all the while still drinking and smoking, and probably taking some kind of anti-anxiety meds. You get the feeling that she's met a sort of apathy with life and the search for love, but in private moments, shes quite distressed about it all. She does meet someone, who for a brief moment, brings some fresh magic into her life... Which was just the recharge she needed... and i wont say anymore about the plot.
Its really refreshing to see a film like this... Well done, great acting, realistic story, funny, a lil' tragic, poignant.... hopeful. Not a hollywood ending. This is a film about the search for love, the emotional brutality of that search, the armor we erect against love, and the ultimate realization (some would say spiritual epiphany) that the love we truly are seeking comes from within...And if we go for that kinda love... all else follows.
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