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Broken 2013

NR
4.1 out of 5 stars (78) IMDb 7.3/10

A 12-year-old girl has a startling coming of age as she is witness to a series of events that involve violence, sexuality, hatred and deceit in her own neighborhood.

Starring:
Charlie Booty, Lily James
Runtime:
1 hour, 30 minutes

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By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2014
Format: Amazon Video
This film is a peak into the bi-polar reality of today's society. Filmed in the UK, we follow a young girl, Eloise Laurence, as she observes the life around her. She lives in a cul-de-sac of three families, all of them are Broken. One family across the street has a brain damaged son that the parents have no idea how to handle, next door a man whose wife died and left him with three young daughters, all self absorbed and start the lie that ends in tragedy. 'Skunk' as she is known, the 11 year old, lives with her father and brother. Her mother left home when she was small. They have an Au pair, a young attractive woman who lives with them. She is involved with a young man they all like, but that falls to pieces when, Martin, the young man becomes a commitment phobe.

One lie starts the process of violence, arrests, commitment to a mental institution and then great tragedy. Throughout this process, Skunk is trying to take it all, deal with a new school, a new friend and the lives of those around her falling apart. At times the film seemed too much. Too much for these three families, do they all have to go through life's turmoils and troubles, does no one get a break? The writing is superb, the acting top notch. Tom Roth plays Skunk's father, a therapist of sorts, it seems he needed to start with himself, his family, then the neighbors.

If this is a microcosmic of our society, we certainly need help. A good start is for parents and children to start with a trusting, loving relationship. This film can be pretty gruesome in parts, violent and emotionally difficult to take. Use some caution, we are all broken, and this film magnifies all of us.

Recommended. prisrob 03-01-14
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Format: DVD
I am a big fan of the on-going Film Movement DVD library of foreign and indie movies. This is the January, 2013 release in the Film Movement DVD of the Month Club, and will be released to the public at large in the months to come.

"Broken" (2012 release from the UK; 91 min.) brings the story of an 11 yr. old diabetic girl nicknamed Skunk (played by Eloise Laurence), who lives on a cul-de-sac in a very much middle-class neighborhood in Britain. At the beginning of the movie Skunk sees Rick, a young man living across the street, getting violently beaten up by yet another neighbor, Mr. Oswald. We later learn that one of Oswald's daughters, in order to save face, told her dad that Rick raped her, following which Oswalt in a rage pummels Rick. We meet other charachters like Skunk's immediately family (her dad is played by Tom Roth), and also Mike, the teacher and boyfriend of Skunk's live-in au-pair. Given the plot-heavy nature of the movie, to tell you much more would flat-out ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see how it all plays out.

Several comments: this is a heavy psychological family drama, and at times very bleak (but never without hope). There are several devastating scenes in the movie that will rip your heart out, so viewer beware. Not having read the book that this movie is based on, it's impossible to compare the movie vs. the book, but if the book is anywhere near as good as this movie, it will make for an excellent read. Kudos to director Rufus Norris for piecing it all together into one fantastic viewing experience. But the greatest compliment must go to newcomer Eloise Lawrence, who brings a "lights out" performance as the 11 yr. old girl.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I heard about this movie reading some reviewer's favorites from 2012. Of course I'd never heard of it, and figured I'd never see it. I got the chance to watch it on a flight from London to Chicago. Oh my goodness! This might just be the best movie I have ever seen! Everything rings so-true. Please see this movie. You will be thinking about it for a long time, and it may change you in ways you have not imagined. Important ways. Themes touched on are bullying, accusations-both true and not true, PTSD, redemption, fate, the "system", essential goodness, and love. Aren't these things that you see a movie for?
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
In a broken and dysfunctional world lives a young girl whose innocence and child-like wonder are besieged on every side by violence, desire and a multitude of human frailties.

In a very strange way "Broken" reminds me of another sort of coming of age film wherein the central character is both a young girl and the witness to tragedy; i.e. "To Kill a Mockingbird". Both Skunk and Scout (looking quite alike in appearance now that I think about it) are self-reliant and optimistic, both are being raised by single fathers (also lawyers) aided by live-in housekeepers but Gregory Peck was a paragon of wisdom and virtue, typically having a positive effect on tough situations whereas Tim Roth is just struggling to hold onto sanity and his family's safety which is his primary motivation for trying to maintain some peace in his neighborhood. I suspect that director Rufus Norris in bringing a story about hope in the midst of despair to the Cannes Film Festival unwittingly created a disturbing glimpse into a society where adults find goodness only in the fragile hearts of children.

While Broken is both a well-acted and riveting drama, it descends maybe a bit too much into social degradation to be very inspiring and although it has some touching moments I can't say this is a film I'd care to watch a second time. :o)
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