Breaking Upwards Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 24, 2012
I think I was in my own transitional, break-up period when I first saw this movie about a stagnant couple that orchestrates an incremental break-up - spending less and less time with each other to cushion the emotional blow - so I really identified with the dragged out "break up that lasts longer than the relationship" heartbreak.

Upon rewatch though, I found the movie lacking in establishing shots; there's no room to breathe between each quirky little on-day and off-day conflict. The emotions are still real, and the final break-up and goodbye scenes are still brutal and bittersweet, respectively. Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones have easy, soul-connected chemistry - smartly deriving this movie from a real-life experiment - but their fictional counterparts could have used more grounded reasons for getting together and breaking up. I wonder if they are still on-again-off-again now that Zoe has gotten more mainstream famous.
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2012
A couple who are bored with their relationship incrementally break up.
Breaking Upwards is a charming, realistic depiction of a couple who are right for each other even though it feels wrong. Strong performances by director/editor/co-writer Daryl Wein and co-writer Zoe Lister Jones carry the film, which has a wry wit and some smart dialogue. And the last shot is truly heart-breaking.
There were few things about the film that I didn't like, but they were so essential to the story that they were impossible to ignore. At the beginning, the stated reason for their break up is that they're both "bored." I recall David Thewlis's monologue from Mike Leigh's Naked in which he rants against people who are bored despite having untold possibilities for engagement: "You have the universe explained to you, and you're bored with it," he says disdainfully. Equally, I recall a former teacher telling me, "If students say they're bored, then they're boring people." I have little patience for characters and real people telling me they're bored, so I was hoping that during the increments of the break-up, past issues would crop up so that we can understand that there is a deeper reason for their split. Most people in their early twenties haven't been hurt enough to deserve ennui.
Also, while on their days off, Daryl and Zoe have no shortage of other suitors. In the construction of the film's plot, this seems like an easy way out. Most often, the choices in real life aren't between a semi-fulfilling relationship and attention from new, flawed suitors (flawed certainly in Zoe's case, but not so much in Daryl's); the choices in real life are between a semi-fulfilling relationship and loneliness, which is a condition that motivates people much more than the lack of fulfillment one finds from fucking one's co-star in a bad off-Broadway play. I wanted to see these characters more vulnerable without each other, which would have made the ending of their relationship so much harder to stomach.
Overall, there is a lot to like about Breaking Upwards, and during all of my future (and one of my past) failed relationships, I'm going to use the phrase "Let's not break up; let's break upwards," but as a film, this indie comedy falls into the trapping tropes that most films of its ilk fall into, making it good enough to make me wish it were so much better.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
A realistic depiction of both the hardships and growth of a breaking relationship.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2010
"Breaking Upwards" starts with Zoe(Zoe Lister-Jones, who wrote, produced and come to think of it does remind me a little of Kristin Scott Thomas) and Daryl(Daryl Wein, who directed, wrote, produced and edited) having sex. But this is not the hot, sweaty, furniture wrecking sex of their early relationship, it is the desultory missionary position four years into their relationship sex at a point when they are otherwise totally comfortable with each other. They decide to spend some time apart during the week to bring more energy into their relationship and mutually agree Tuesday has to be one of their together days, so they can watch "American Idol" together which might explain a thing or two.(What? No "Lost" or "The Good Wife?") This way they also have more time to pursue their respective callings. Daryl is struggling as a writer while taking in extra income as a babysitter. Zoe is an actress who auditions for commercials where she competes against amazons, while rehearsing for a play off-off-off Broadway.

While definitely rough around the edges, "Breaking Upwards" is also warm, witty and knowing in its exploration of relationships and their boundaries without any unnecessary car chases. The movie also makes great use of New York City locations, including one scene on Sixth Avenue just down the block from where I watched this. In this city, these characters are at a point where their lives are slowly coming together, post college. In the meaintime, their parents have formed an extended family with each other and are still a huge influence. This can be both a good and a bad thing as they are always there for comfort, food and laundry services but can also set a bad example for the couple.
divinetrash
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2010
This is the kind of movie that will mostly, if not only, resonate with people who have been in the same situation as these two characters - which I imagine are far more folks than they would care to admit.
April 23, 2010
This movie has a few redeeming scenes between the two leading characters. Overall you don't want to watch this train wreck happen, but you can't look away.
½ November 23, 2009
A break-up that lasts longer than the actual relationship, how many of us have known of something like that. The feeling of emotional codependency, fear of the unknown, and isolation in a metropolitan city is captured very well in the urban cinematography. But the characters that really shone were the Jewish moms :) Thoroughly enjoyable and nostalgic, if a bit heart-numbing.
½ March 3, 2011
About a couple that wants to breakup, they're bored, but dont want to lose each other altogether. They try and take "days off" and do different things, not see each other on their days off. Learn how to be independent again. To see how they feel about it all, and if breaking up is really what they want to do.
June 17, 2013
such a cute movie and so funny. I loved it. Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein are brilliant.
February 13, 2013
i don't know why y'all are hating on this movie, it was actually pretty good. the ending was a little bothersome but all in all i would recommend this. definitely better than most chick flicks.
August 25, 2012
Funny, original, and resonating.
½ February 24, 2012
A likeable film and an interesting look at a long term relationship, enjoyed the soundtrack too.
½ February 24, 2012
Fun, but get's a little to confusing by the end.
March 1, 2011
It was a kinda boring thumbs down
½ December 13, 2010
Breaking Upwards is really close to being a good film, but its hipster-indie quirk definitely took it down a couple notches. The premise is good, and it's definitely made by talented people, but I got annoyed a few too many times.
November 7, 2010
Silly, cheap and fun.
October 15, 2010
A realistic depiction of both the hardships and growth of a breaking relationship.
May 19, 2010
This is film is amazing. It is beautifully honest and realistic.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2010
"Breaking Upwards" starts with Zoe(Zoe Lister-Jones, who wrote, produced and come to think of it does remind me a little of Kristin Scott Thomas) and Daryl(Daryl Wein, who directed, wrote, produced and edited) having sex. But this is not the hot, sweaty, furniture wrecking sex of their early relationship, it is the desultory missionary position four years into their relationship sex at a point when they are otherwise totally comfortable with each other. They decide to spend some time apart during the week to bring more energy into their relationship and mutually agree Tuesday has to be one of their together days, so they can watch "American Idol" together which might explain a thing or two.(What? No "Lost" or "The Good Wife?") This way they also have more time to pursue their respective callings. Daryl is struggling as a writer while taking in extra income as a babysitter. Zoe is an actress who auditions for commercials where she competes against amazons, while rehearsing for a play off-off-off Broadway.

While definitely rough around the edges, "Breaking Upwards" is also warm, witty and knowing in its exploration of relationships and their boundaries without any unnecessary car chases. The movie also makes great use of New York City locations, including one scene on Sixth Avenue just down the block from where I watched this. In this city, these characters are at a point where their lives are slowly coming together, post college. In the meaintime, their parents have formed an extended family with each other and are still a huge influence. This can be both a good and a bad thing as they are always there for comfort, food and laundry services but can also set a bad example for the couple.
April 7, 2010
Just saw the movie last night 04/06/10 @ UCLA James Bridege theater. FANTASTIC MOVIE! FUNNY! ENTERTAINING! FRESH! UNIQUE! WELL FILMED & GREAT TIME!
The writers/directors/actors Daryl & Zoe were at the showing and came off as INSPIRED, COOL, WITTY, ORIGINAL and GOOD PEOPLE!
I wouldn't take the time to offer a review unless it was very good to great. Highly recommended. Top billing is deserved for this DIY (Do It Yourself/Indie) movie. I have a feeling this movie is going to do great things and will become a classic like "When Harry Met Sally," and make the two actors MOVIE STARS! :D
GREAT JOB D&Z!
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