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Broken English

Directed by Zoe R. Cassavetes

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Broken English
Directed by: Directed by Zoe R. Cassavetes
Magnolia
When I told my boyfriend I was reviewing a film called Broken English, he used his savvy know-how about lame movie titles to predict that the film would be about miscommunication. And so it is—both metaphorically (single Nora has difficulty speaking the language of love) and literally (Nora meets a French guy. Sometimes his accent causes confusion). It's territory we've watched lonely heroines navigate before—Parker Posey is the only reason we care about Nora's plight. Otherwise, the movie's not particularly bad—it's simply unmemorable.

Writer/director Zoe R. Cassavetes comes from hearty indie-movie stock (her parents are independent film legend John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, his much-used leading lady), but such lineage burdens poor Zoe with unfair expectations and dares critics to make unfair comparisons. But I've yet to make it through a full (John) Cassavetes flick—so all I really wanted from Broken English was some fresh-feeling insights, and a couple belly laughs. Instead, I got yet another movie about a single lady finding love (after finding herself!), a spectacularly unfunny language-barrier-related gag (Nora's French taxi driver wishes her and her friend happiness, they think he says "a penis"), and an ending almost identical to the one in Richard Linklater's Before Sunset. Linklater did it better.
Lindsay McCarney

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