House Logo
Explore categories +

Broken English (#110 of 1)

Broken English, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Namesake, and Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Comments Comments (...)

<em>Broken English</em>, <em>Charlie Wilson’s War</em>, <em>The Namesake</em>, and <em>Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street</em>
<em>Broken English</em>, <em>Charlie Wilson’s War</em>, <em>The Namesake</em>, and <em>Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street</em>

Broken English (Zoe R. Cassavetes). Warts and all, this is the best American independent film I’ve seen all year. After Juno, it’s refreshing to see something so intelligently keyed to the way people in the real world dress, talk, and feel. Parker Posey is prone to all sorts of bad habits: Her quirkiness often seems to be fighting against the films she’s in, an approach that almost never works (her avant-garde disconnect in Blade: Trinity being a notable exception). Here, though, that uniquely Poseyian energy very much belongs to her character Nora: a thirtysomething woman sadly content with her dead-end job, burned by men who have made mincemeat of her confidence, thus resistant to the affections others seem to promise. Unpretentiously filmed, Broken English is decorous only in the attention it pays to its main character’s needs and fears, and the anxiety Nora suffers when trying to figure out whether or not an adorable Frenchie is just using her feels very real. Their alternately indignant and rapturous romantic tango is sweet, painful, and dangerous—as if one misstep could change their lives forever. This may be spoilerish for those who haven’t seen it, but I love how the movie accommodates a happy romantic ending while still getting to the point that Nora can feel fulfilled without a man in her life. Finally, a Cassavetes offspring daring to carry their father’s torch.