This is a movie designed for hopeless romantics. Being one myself, I can't say how the rest of the population would enjoy the movie (I tend to think they would find it a little unrealistic) but I know we do! Basically the main character is a lonely young woman looking for that something, whatever it might be. She's got a medicine cabinet full of anti-anxiety pills and can't seem to find focus for her life. Enter Julian, the sexy Frenchman who sweeps her off her feet. The acting is pretty solid and there are some memorable lines in the script. The three best things about this movie are the ending, the old grandmother towards the end and the hopefulness the movie carries in it.
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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I just want to be lovedAug. 22 2007
Raychel G. Terschluse
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Nora Gets RealJune 28 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Broken About This 'English'Sept. 27 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
Don't approach "Broken English" expecting "Green Card" or "Sleepless in Seattle." This is a more experimental approach to the genre - less a traditional romantic comedy and more of a dark character study with a few moments of comedic relief. Romance is merely the device used to illustrate one woman's descent into desperation.
Nora Wilder, an upper middle class woman in her 30's, has everything going for her. She is a Sarah Lawrence graduate with a decent job, a Manhattan apartment, good friends and nearby family. However, she is no longer in the first flush of youth. One day she realizes that she has spent six years in the job that was supposed to be temporary until she found her career in the arts. Furthermore, all of her friends are married, but she can't find love in the land of plenty. She realizes that she had some nice boyfriends when she was in college, but now that she is ready to settle down she can't find a decent guy. She meets a variety of men; some of them are ready to settle down - but with other women, not with Nora. Nora, in her desperation to connect with a man, is ready to sleep with any guy who compliments her. In fact, she can't believe a man is interested in her unless they have slept together - an attitude that makes her vulnerable to hurt from men who are completely unavailable.
After yet another bad experience, Nora forces herself to attend a party given by one of her co-workers. As she is ready to exit the party she is introduced to Julien, a Frenchman nearing the end of his stay in the city. Nora is at the end of her rope with men. She's not interested in connecting with Julien on any level, but he is persistent. Every time Nora is ready to say good night or goody bye to Julien, he comes up with a new place for them to go, something new to see or do. By the time Nora and Julien share a first kiss, they have gotten to know and like each other a little. But after a few days together, Julien has to go home to France. His departure leaves a larger hole in her life than Nora would have imagined. Eventually she overcomes her initial resistance and travels to France, hoping to reconnect with him. In Paris, Nora discovers that she has lost the paper with Julien's phone number; the friend who introduced them is out of town not answering his messages; and Julien has the most common surname in France.
Once Nora accepts that she won't find Julien, she decides to make the most of her time in Paris. She shops. She visits museums and galleries. As an "exotic foreigner" herself, she is able to have the kind of encounters with people in Paris that she is incapable of finding in her hometown. She engages in lively debates and soul searching introspective discussions with strangers. She learns something about herself in the process, and she learns to value herself. By the time she's ready to leave Paris, she's on her way to becoming a confident new woman ready to take on new challenges and, just maybe, find the love that has eluded her.
Parker Posey's brilliant performance prevents this depressed and desperate woman from becoming an uninteresting cliche. Her darker feelings seem genuine, yet always underlined by a kind of surprised disbelief that her life could have become this messy.
Melvil Poupaud is charming as the visiting Frenchman. At first sight he is easily dismissed by both Nora and the audience but, as she (and we) get to know him better, Julien becomes fascinating and irresistible.
The DVD special features are disappointing. There is no director's commentary, which would have been interesting in a film like this. It would have been even more interesting because this is Zoe Cassavetes directorial debut. The features include a piece from HDNet with separate interviews of Cassavetes (interesting) and Gena Rowlands (rambling). A "making of" feature appears to have been taped with a small hand held camera; the video is shaky and the sound is indistinct - it adds nothing to the package. There are a few mildly interesting deleted scenes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Parker Posey commands attentionMarch 22 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
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.