Posts Tagged Broken English
Women’s History Month: some of my favorite films by women
Posted by Amy Steele in Film, Women/ feminism on March 16, 2011
Grace of My Heart 
written and directed by Allison Anders
–Loosely based on the tumultuous rise of singer/songwriter Carole King, Grace of My Heart is a tour-de-force and one of my favorite films ever. Starring Illeana Douglas, Grace of My Heart takes viewers through the music biz from the famed Brill Building to communes and the hip 60s and beyond as one woman strives to find her own voice in a male-dominated industry.
written and directed by Adrienne Shelly
–a charming and heart-warming film about an independent, spirited small-town woman [Keri Russell] determined to leave her abusive husband and make it big on her own.
Monsoon Wedding 
directed by Mira Nair
Away from Her 
written and directed by Sarah Polley
–a graceful love story about a woman with Alzheimer’s
Searching for Debra Winger 
directed by Rosanna Arquette
–documentary on women in film, which includes amazing and very honest commentary from stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Whoopi to Vanessa Redgrave to Salma Hayek to Charlotte Rampling to of course Debra Winger. It’s great that these women feel comfortable with age but sad to see the frustration and that there still is the issue of great roles for women over 30.
Broken English 
Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes
— story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented 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.
The Namesake 
directed by Mira Nair
–the story revolves around Gogol [Kal Penn], a mid-twenties architect who has been fighting against his traditional Indian family and heritage. He gets pulled back in by an unforeseen family crisis and it changes his outlook and future forever.
Bright Star 
written and directed by Jane Campion
–wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats [Ben Whishaw] and his muse and love Fanny Brawne [Abbie Cornish] as told through her eyes.
Come Early Morning 
written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams
–a woman [Ashley Judd] who struggles with alcoholism tries to get her life on track
written and directed by Deepa Mehta
2 Days in Paris 
written and directed by Julie Delpy
–an American and a Parisian talk a lot, fight a lot
written and directed by Karyn Kusama
–focus on female boxers
written and directed by Sofia Coppola
–a wayward actor [Stephen Dorff] and his heartfelt relationship with his daughter [Elle Fanning]
The Parking Lot Movie 
directed by Meghan Eckman
–three years following the ins and outs of the attendants at a parking lot in Virginia. truly riveting. really.
written and directed by Laurie Collyer
–after serving a three-year prison sentence, Sherry [Maggie Gyllenhaal] returns to New Jersey to try to re-establish family ties, including one with her daughter
The Hurt Locker 
directed by Kathryn Bigelow
–heart-pounding thriller about the guys who diffuse IEDs in Iraq
The Kids Are All Right 
co-written and directed by Lisa Chodolenko
–the teenage children of lesbian parents decide to contact the sperm donor and meeting him has implications on the entire family
Please Give 
written and directed by Nicole Holofcener
Winter’s Bone 
written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
directed by Debra Granik
–a teenager [Jennifer Lawrence] searches for her father in dangerous, bleak meth-country
DVD Review: Broken English
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD, Film on August 27, 2007
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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