Broken English

Critics Consensus

Though Broken English eventually settles into basic rom-com territory, it's pleasant and good-natured, and Parker Posey is spellbinding throughout the movie.

64%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 72

62%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 23,967
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Movie Info

A single thirtysomething whose friends all seem to be romantically involved, happily married, or with child meets an eccentric Frenchman who shows her just what an amazing place the world can truly be in director Zoe Cassavetes' entry into the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. As if it wasn't depressing enough to be 35 and still single, Nora (Parker Posey) is constantly reminded by her loving but tactless mother (Gena Rowlands) just how unlucky she has been in love. Though Nora longs to enter into a blissful union like the one of her best friend, Audrey (Drea de Matteo), she finds that the dating pool just isn't what it used to be. Things soon begin to look up, however, when Nora makes the acquaintance of handsome Frenchman Julian (Melvil Poupaud). While the two share an instant chemistry that is undeniable, Nora is saddened to learn that Julian will soon be departing for his native soil. When Julian does depart, Nora laments the fact that she wasn't able to express her feelings more effectively. If only Nora could organize her scattered thoughts long enough to remember her love object's last name, she might not have to go searching out every "Julian" in Paris to locate the man of her dreams. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast

Parker Posey
as Nora Wilder
Drea de Matteo
as Audrey Andrews
Peter Bogdanovich
as Irving Mann
Tim Guinee
as Mark Andrews
Caitlin Keats
as Jennifer
Brendan Bradley
as Bartender
Bernadette Lafont
as Madame Grenelle
Roy Thinnes
as Peter Andrews
Dana Ivey
as Elinor Gregory
Philip Pavel
as Front Desk Agent
Bill Wise
as William Gregory
Gena Rowlands
as Vivien Wilder-Mann
Justin Theroux
as Nick Gable
Jean-Paul Scarpitta
as Jean Paul Clement
View All

News & Interviews for Broken English

Critic Reviews for Broken English

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (26)

  • How Posey's neurotic, self-destructive heroine finds her way to healing is the core of this generous film, whose moral is that happiness can't begin unless you're open to its possibility.

    Jan 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A likable but wan romance.

    Aug 9, 2007 | Rating: 3/5
  • Filmmaking is a family affair for the Cassavetes, and Zoe inherits the unpretentious, performance-driven style from her father, John, while delivering a love story that's accessible enough for mainstream audiences, a trick learned from her brother Nick.

    Jul 27, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Cassavetes supplies no easy answers or easy laughs, forgoing romantic-comedy beats in respect for Nora's desperation. Call this confection a romantic-dramedy with humor on wry.

    Jul 20, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Broken English establishes a sympathetic character, gets Parker Posey to make her real, and then grinds her in the gears of a plot we cannot believe.

    Jul 20, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A promising first film with moments exceeding that promise.

    Jul 19, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Broken English

  • May 29, 2011
    A desperately lonely (not my words; hers: "I'm embarrassed at my own desperation") woman fails to find love in NYC so she follows a man to Paris. This is a spoiler review because the biggest problems with this film are in the third act. Parker Posey plays Nora Wilder, who is much like the lead in most romantic comedies or romantic dramas. She hates her job and finds nothing but jerks and weirdos in the dating world. She even has the best friend who doesn't seem to have a life of her own, which is almost a cliche in this genre. But the film's strength is its strategic defying of romance cliches. In the third act the best friend, whose troubled marriage until now only served as a backdrop for her scenes with Nora, breaks down in the bathroom, and we quickly realize that she cheated on her husband. Likewise, Nora quits her job, and normally, she would quickly find her calling a la <i>500 Days of Summer</i>, but instead her desperate search for love irrationally carries her to Paris. The film's problem occurs when she finally meets the object of her affection on the way to the airport. He basically drags her out of the train, and the film ends with her willingness to miss the flight back home for him. I understand that the film is trying to problematize all the myths romantic movies shove down our throats; after all, not all break ups lead to a sudden realization of one's independence and life goals. The film seems to say that there are no easy answers where love is concerned. However, the over-bearing nature of Julien's seizure of Nora and her all-too-willing, wistful acceptance of his dominance make us wonder how we're supposed to feel about the film's end. I want to say to the film, "I know there are no easy answers, but what are yours? And if not yours, then what are Nora's?" In the end, these questions seem too elemental to the film's center to remain unanswered. Overall, <i>Broken English</i> features an excellent performance by Parker Posey, but it's stuck in a film that is being deliberately obscure in all the wrong ways.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2009
    Nora Wilder (Parker Posey), a single woman, is heading deep into the doldrums as a result of disappointments in her professional and personal lives. A series of disastrous dates convinces her that love will always elude her. At a co-worker's party , she meets Julien (Melvil Poupaud), a young man from Paris, who sweeps her off her feet and invites her to France with him. Nora refuses, then wonders if she has made the biggest mistake of her life. <a href="http://s420.photobucket.com/albums/pp286/ladypink_2009/?action=view¤t=broken11.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i420.photobucket.com/albums/pp286/ladypink_2009/broken11.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Parker Posey is an amazing actress and was able to carry this movie with some real hard to swallow details. Being lonely, being scared what people think, being scared that you come off as desperate, all of these problems and more are dealt with in a really sweet but thought-provoking way in this movie. I enjoyed the characters a lot and though the ending was kind of a romance cliché, it was pleasing. I loved the character of Nora, and I liked how the movie was subtle and truthful about relationships. I think the humor lied in the honesty of being alone and wanting so bad to find that right person, but knowing that there are problems you have to deal with in yourself before its a good time to fall in love. In summation, it's a good movie about finding love even when you feel extremely anxious and worried about love. Falling in love with a guy 10 or more years younger than you its quite a challenge, only you have to stand with both feet on the ground, specially if you have been through different relationships, or something like that. I would see this movie it if I were you. Directed by Zoe Casaavettes, sister of Nick Cassavettes, who directed The NoteBook, Mom Gena Rowlands is once again in the movie, its runs in the family, the romantic blood. Cool movie <a href="http://s420.photobucket.com/albums/pp286/ladypink_2009/?action=view¤t=still21.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i420.photobucket.com/albums/pp286/ladypink_2009/still21.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    Daisy M Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2008
    I hesitate to call this a "romantic comedy" as the acting is far too solid to justify the stigma that (in my mind) comes with that moniker, even though the story line itself is predictable enough to warrant that categorization. It is in fact very romantic, in a pretty realistic way. And it is also fairly ammusing in it's painfully truthful accurate portrayal of "single life after 30". Which (I believe) tends to be more of a concern for women then it is for men. I have to say Parker Possey does an amazing job here and really gets to show her acting chops. And Drea de Matteo is perfect as her best friend. Very impressive work from both of them. So if you are in the mood for a really good (in not a bit predictable) "romantic comedy"...this is a good choice.
    Robert C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]In "Broken English," the most distinguishing character trait of Nora Wilder(Parker Posey, futilely trying to breathe depth into a two-dimensional charcter), a guest services manager for a hotel in New York City, is that she is single. And apparently this bit of information concerns everyone in her circle(and maybe the New York City metropolitan area) who are constantly attempting to set her up on dates. In the interim, she has a one night stand with an actor(Justin Theroux) that she misreads. Even though she is sad that life has not turned out exactly as she thought it would, Nora still drags herself out of her apartment to a party where she meets a charming French stranger, Julien(Melvil Poupaud)...[/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Broken English" is a contrived and uninspired movie that has little new to say about contemporary life. So let me try. While sitting around waiting for the perfect mate to make an appearance is a mistake, being in a relationship with somebody just for the sake of not being alone is wrong. The trick is to have an individual life with friends and a panoply of varied interests that may include literature and politics.(Getting involved with a cause is a good start.) Start from there and then meet somebody you want to be with. [/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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