A Broken Sole is a bad movie, worse theater. A woman storms into a shoemaker’s shop and demands that the old man behind the counter fix one of her shoes. He’s closing early today, but she refuses to take no for an answer. “You can’t be. My sole is broken!” she squeals, suggesting that something more than a shoe is at stake here. An allegory thus surfaces, wrapping its shrill tendrils around the necks of Judith Light’s presumptuous film professor and Danny Aiello’s lower-class type before wafting out into the audience and choking us all. This first of three pas de deux about love, loss, and healing in post-9/11 New York City is pretentiously crammed with oblique references to “that day” and is essentially an excuse for playwright Susan Charlotte and director Antony Marsellis to engage in pat, self-important moralizing. The writing, in its treatment of the relations between the generations and its obvious, at once crippling and tidy “significance” is closer in spirit to Arthur Miller than, say, Tony Kushner. Laughable plays on words, silly connective tissue, and crass parallelism abound, like the bright-red bags Aiello’s shoemaker uses to conceal the shoes that belonged to 9/11 victims (a montage of paired objects—bags, Armani heels, and other inanimate things—is meant to evoke the Twin Towers). The great The Garden of Finzi-Continis is also referenced, thus tainted, repeatedly, most dubiously in the second story, about a real estate agent and amateur cook who gets into a cab driven by a chronic enunciator. She’s late for a very important date, nibbling on fudge while the cab driver fudges the truth, all in the interest of cluing her in on some of the ways she can be a better person. You may lose it when she references “all that dough…all that kneading” her grandmother used to do, though the third story takes the cake. “It’s not easy seeing the world backwards,” explains the dyslexic Bob (date of birth 11/9) to Nan (date of birth 9/11), the fuck toy he recently met on the Internets, before the two start talking about love, truthiness, 9/11, and The Battle of Algiers as if they were the only people in the world who’ve ever gone to the movies. Tragically, after suffering through this trite, condescending, overwritten harangue, with eyes frightfully peering through the fingers of my hands that shielded my face, I may just give up on them forever.
- Shoemaker/Broken Sole Productions
- 97 min
- Antony Marsellis
- Susan Charlotte
- Danny Aiello, Margaret Colin, Bob Dishy, Judith Light, Laila Robins, John Shea
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