DVD Review: Broken English

See this!!

It is the story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented Indie Queen Parker Posey], a 35-year-old who seems stuck in a rut—both personally and professionally. Nora has become complacent and settled at her hotel job. She is beginning to delve into the Bell Jar after years of seeming to know what she wanted and now being at the age where she feels she should already be there. Date after date leads to further frustration until she meets a French man, Julien [Melvil Poupaud]. He might really like her or just be another guy leading her on. Is it a merely a charming façade or is he being honest with Nora?

Posey turns out a tour-de-force performance under the direction of Zoe Cassavetes. At times darkly reminiscent of Looking for Mr. Goodbar and steps above Sex and the City type single girl stories, Broken English does not look through rose-colored glasses but tackles Nora’s issues head-on. Her best friend Audrey [a solid performance by Drea de Matteo] is happily married and is supportive, understanding and concerned about her friend. Their conversations and connection are aptly real. Nora’s chemistry with Julien is palpable, enviable and genuine. The film does not gloss over anything from Nora’s morning-after bed head hair to her depressive, insecure moments. Nora and Audrey travel to Paris in hopes of finding Julien and Nora discovers herself, as cliché as that may sound. She lost his number.

In one scene, she is sitting with the French guy who she has spent a few days with and suddenly a look of intense fear washes over her eyes as the color drains from her face and she looks like she’s going to cry, shake and/or explode. It is a heart-pounding portrayal of that wave of anxiety that starts to erupt inside. She bolts out of the café and into her nearby apartment and lunges for the bottle of pills in her medicine cabinet, downs a few and then gets in bed. “I’m okay. I’m not going to kill myself or anything,” Nora says to this guy who has followed her back, confused.

Brilliant actress. She’s one of my favorites. The film is raw, real and honest. Cassavetes’s spot on, direct, honest script captures this woman’s fears, disappointments and frustrations.


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