Broken English DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

A heartfelt movie that tries to examine dating in today's society.
  • OVERALL
    2.5
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A heartfelt movie that tries to examine dating in today's society.
THE BAD
I think Zoe Cassavetes should have done a commentary track.
THE FEATURE
Broken English is the light on it's feet but heavy hearted tale of Nora Wilder (Parker Posey). Nora, like a lot of us in her thirties is still searching for that perfect relationship. She is looking for the right guy and just when she thinks she's found her prince he turns out to be a frog. However, Nora keeps going and eventually meets Julien (Melvil Poupaud), a Frenchman who ultimately makes her reevaluate everything she thinks she wants. On top of this she soon realizes that she's got to start accepting herself before anybody else can.

Directed by Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of illustrious indy-guru, John, Broken English is pretty much a conventional love story. What kept my interest was the fact that this was a Cassavetes film and that similar ground was covered in her father's movie, Minnie and Moskowitz.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes

Put together on this DVD in one chunk, I was happy to see that these scenes weren't disparately put on here. These deleted portions are all of very good quality and they look like the rest of the film. Since this is a drama, these scenes appeared to flesh out the characters a little bit more and that made their development a bit richer. However this movie plays tightly at its 98 minute run time, so these scenes in the film might have played as superfluous.

Higher Definition: Broken English Episode

Making of Broken English

I loved this. It was one of the most intimate "making of" pieces I have ever seen and defied the usual conventions we see with these things. The camera was handheld and shaky. We get candid moments of people in hair and makeup, on the set, watching the monitors and this whole thing felt cozy and off the cuff. We are taken through this shoot in a way that nothing is ever 100% explained. However when we see problems on the set, or the logistics of location shooting, we know what we are seeing based on other featurettes we've gone through.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen - 1.78:1 - This movie's look was very much a product of the area it was set in. New York is one of those places that really doesn't need much work. In fact, one could shoot a film on a consumer video camera there and it would have production values based on the fact that it was shot in the city. Magnolia Home Entertainment and HD NET have done a solid job bringing this movie to DVD without encroaching on it's naturalistic look and feel.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital. Close Captioned. Language: English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital. Subtitled in English. The audio for this movie was good. There wasn't anything that amazing to talk about but I appreciated that things didn't get too arty in this department. So much about this movie seems to scream art film, but it really is just a more involved version of a movie Sandra Bullock could have starred in.
THE PACKAGE
This front cover has indy film written all over it. It features characters having a passionate interlude in bed and a shot of our main actors having drinks. The back cover has a picture of Parker Posey and Gena Rowlands (I love when the Cassavetes kids put their parents in their films!), some more shots from the movie, a description of what this film is about, a Special Features list, a credits list and technical specs.
THE FINAL WORD
I would love to know what the numbers are on a film like this? How much was it made for and does it recoup it's investment? I bring up these questions because Broken English seems highly typical of the sad state of the film industry. It is of no fault of this films but there really isn't a place for it in today's movie landscape. I know that I often bemoan the fact that unless something is a comic book movie, or based on a graphic novel, it really doesn't seem to have a place. Nowadays, unless a movie was in some way thought of, conceived or touched by Judd Apatow (whose movie's I really do enjoy), it doesn't seem to gain any traction or any push from the company that is putting it out.

While I don't think there was anything that amazing about Broken English, I am wondering how I might feel about this movie should I screen it in my 40s?

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