Broken - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Broken Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 11, 2014
An eleven-year-old girl comes of age against the violent backdrop of her neighborhood.
Director Rufus Norris resorts to some cheap tricks with non-sequential narration, but the central story is pretty good. After violence erupts in her neighborhood, Skunk, wonderfully played by Eloise Laurence, wonders why adults behave with such cruelty, and her father seems to have as much understanding as she does. At its core, Broken is about violence and dread and the mystery of cruelty and prejudice. These are interesting themes, and while they're not fully realized, the film remains basically compelling.
Overall, this isn't a bad film, but Norris's gimmicks wore on me, especially after he went to the same bag of tricks for the third time.
Super Reviewer
July 27, 2013
The story of events going on in a neighborhood is a bit engaging, but considering the overall experience the flick offers, IMO, it's mediocre at best.
Super Reviewer
½ March 10, 2013
11 year-old Skunk (Laurence) lives in a suburban English cul-de-sac with her divorced father Archie (Roth) and 14 year-old brother Jed (Milner). Also sharing the house is Polish au-pair Kasia (Marjanovic) who has been dating Irish teacher Mike for several years but, growing tired of his fear of commitment, begins to conduct an affair with Archie. Skunk is friendly with Rick, a mentally challenged young man who is sectioned following a violent attack from neighbor Oswald, whose daughter falsely accused him of rape. When Mike rescues Skunk from an attack by Oswald's bullying young daughters, he too is accused of rape and finds himself the victim of their father's anger.
Both my plot synopsis and the film's marketing would have you believe 'Broken' is yet another gritty urban British drama but this couldn't be further from the truth. For the most part, 'Broken' is charmingly upbeat, full of characters who are so damn nice you can't help but grin like an idiot while you watch them. Roth has called this his most difficult role as he's never been called on to play such an out and out nice guy before. Like 'Little Children' and 'Welcome to the Dollhouse', it focuses on how ill-equipped most of us are to deal with human relationships. You're never sure whether you want to give its characters a hug or a smack, but they're thoroughly engaging either way. What ultimately keeps 'Broken' from becoming a great film, rather than a merely good one, is an overly sentimental final act which hinges on an incident that's all too predictable.
While the entire ensemble deliver top-notch performances, it's Laurence who steals the show. Like Thomas Doret in last year's 'The Kid With a Bike', she delivers a genuinely child-like performance. Unlike many child actors, you never feel like you're just watching a miniature adult. She manages to evoke the character's intelligence without ever coming across as arrogant or unlikable. Mark O'Rowe's script helps of course. Viewing adult problems through a child's eyes could have been handled in a far more trite manner. If this were an American studio production (or even an indie like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'), no doubt we'd have to endure an irritating voice-over in which Laurence tells us how she's so much cleverer than us grown-ups.
Like the best movies about childhood, 'Broken' asks plenty of questions but never has the arrogance to attempt to answer them.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2013
What a wonderful British coming-of-age drama directed by Rufus Norris... mainly due to the amazing performance of the young actress Eloise Laurence. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and it is based on the 2008 novel of the same name written by Daniel Clay. Excellent adaptation of the story of an eleven year old diabetic Skunk (Eloise Laurence) who lives with her father Archie (Tim Roth), her elder brother Jed (Bill Milner), and au pair Kasia (Zana Marjanović) in a typical British suburb. I loved everything about it, and enjoyed the acting of all of them with special mentioning of one of Skunk's few friends: Rick (Robert Emms), a strange young man living with his parents in the neighbourhood. The story focuses on three families who live in the same cul-de-sac and are linked by a violent incident that has far-reaching consequences for them all.

I read a few negative reviews and I really cannot understand why. The film even received the Golden Eye Award for best international film on the Zurich Film Festival. It also won The British Independent Film Awards 2012 for Best British Independent Film, and I think deserved all of them! Music score was amazing and I loved the comment of the first-time film director Norris who told BBC News after winning BIFA 2012: "Hopefully it makes it more likely that I'll get the chance to make another film." I hope he does very soon, because it was refreshing to see a movie where there is no bad or good only - Broken shows how people behave sometimes in really awful ways and sometimes in really good ways, often it's to do with love, protection or fear.

If you like to watch a movie which talks about things that affect us all, and have all your emotions involved, this one should do!
Anthony L.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2013
The main headline of this film is Eloise Laurence. What a magnificent actress. Her portrayal of Skunk is unparalleled, it's amongst one of the best child performances I've ever seen. This film being a 'coming of age tale,' Laurence really does show a progression in Skunk's behaviour, encapsulating the raw emotion, and loss of innocence that teenagers feel when they enter adulthood. And we haven't even mentioned the other actors yet. Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, Rory Kinnear and Robert Emms, only four of the other actors who do magnificent portrayals of their characters. Rottentomatoes calls this a Documentary, and Special Interest film, but really, it's not. Being Rufus Norris's first film, I wasn't sure going into it how good it was going to be. At times, the shots can be grainy (as many amateur filmmakers know, low light videography often yields grainy shots), but that's a minor offset to the beautiful told story, and the magnificent performances. I hadn't heard of "Broken" until it was advertised at CIFF, where I saw it, but it's a hidden gem. If you have the chance this year to see this film, do it. You'll have no regrets about it. It's a bittersweet, heartwarming tale of the realities of growing up; sex, friends, violence, and most importantly, first loves.
August 8, 2015
This was great; the story is dark and compelling and the visual is appealing. A young girl is going to end up in the hospital, possibly dying, but we don't know how. It builds dread but keeps things uncertain enough that it's unclear exactly how it's going to end. The ending doesn't feel quite right for the style of movie, but didn't change my overall opinion. There are a few scenes that make this, possibly, not safe for parents.
½ May 15, 2014
There is way to much going on here. Individual scenes were riveting but all together I kept hoping for a story line to latch onto. While it seemed to be about the young girl, it's not enough about her for me to have been immersed in her story or point of view. I wanted to follow Tim Roth or Cillian Murphy's characters and I got small chance to do that. The sister, the girls, the brother, the neighbor were all complicated and interesting but there's five stories there. It's not that it's too complicated it's just that it's not deep enough.
February 9, 2014
This was a horrible story to watch. The timeline was fragmented and added to the tension of the plot. The cast was brilliant and it was impossible to look away.
July 19, 2013
An English coming-of-age tale with an appealing performance by Eloise Laurence as an 11-year old trying to make her way in a violent world.
½ November 7, 2013
Well-acted and scripted, but the film loses more than it gains in its ending. I really enjoyed Cillian Murphy and Rory Kinnear in this coming of age film set in Ireland. It feels a little too melodramatic towards the end to be believable, but there's plenty of solid moments in the film that draw you into the stories of these characters.
½ August 5, 2013
Humor and dread in a suburban cul-de-sac. Careful balance and superb performances lend the artistic representation of relationships - many of them broken (or at least damaged/damaging), as the title implies - credibility.
½ July 31, 2013
Its Violent, and depressing, but i liked the ending, it had a interesting mix of different people, and good acting. Overall though it really isn't my type of movie.
July 23, 2013
This film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and it is based on the 2008 novel of the same name written by Daniel Clay.

Broken is a lovely film where the story has been woven together with intricate detail, it is beautiful on many levels. The story is a British coming-of-age story about a girl named Skunk who is the centerpiece of this multidimensional movie, and somewhat complicated piecing together of the telling of this story. The director (Rufus Norris) does a brilliant job at balancing the comic and tragic elements of the book, and weaves an interesting tale throughout the entire 90-minutes.

The cast does such an remarkable job dropping right into the story from the first frame, and they all connect with the viewer in a way to remove the barriers that could become a problem in a film like this. This movie will appeal to adults and teens alike as the intense drama is underplayed and though there is a dark undertone throughout the film, the viewer is easily brought into the story and can't let go until the credits roll.

The film has some well-known faces, such as Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy (who can also play a good guy, not just a villain), but this isn't the last time we will see the name Eloise Laurence on the silver screen. Eloise was brilliant, and deserves recognition for her amazing contribution to this movie.

I strongly recommend this movie; it is one of the best of the year!
April 16, 2013
Some really wonderful acting and dialog produces some really wonderful scenes, but they don't really add up to much. Three neighbouring (being British) families' stories intertwine in a strange cul-de-sac of misery and sorrow. Tim Roth is particularly good, but though it is very well done it is ultimately pointless.
½ November 25, 2012
I really liked and enjoyed this film. Eloise Laurence as the protagonist gave such a great and beautiful performance, as well as the other cast. It's a movie about different stories of relationships, growing up, and lies and mistakes, that all relate to each other and somehow affect or benefit them. With about many ups and downs, the loss of innocence and just how life isn't as easy. Mainly showed with acts of violence and disappointment. Thus, it was a great movie to watch, that will eventually become one of my favorites.
½ January 30, 2016
A solid indie, but I found it hard find a character or storyline to care about.
January 24, 2016
Good film until the ending which was absurd.
December 29, 2015
A lighter tone narrative for such a frustrating story. Abnormal but powerful.
½ September 8, 2015
Very gritty, I love how it ended. The Oswalds were protective of only each other and cared about no one else, but at the end it seems like the man repented for his actions, even though it was his daughter's/his fault that Rick turned out that way - and I love how they did that. Nothing he could do could ever really repent for the things he did to other people. Eloise Laurence is an AMAZING actor, she was so natural and I love the kids that play in gritty films like this, becausee more often than not they know how to act 'natural.' She's just amazing.
½ September 4, 2015
WHOAAAAA there's a movie that just takes you away on a journey of all kinds of mysterious emotions you never thought you could have imagined and when it's all done, you feel a better person cuz you know you are just that much more open to the world unknown. A MUST watch for movie lovers...not movie watchers...L.O.V.E.R.S!!!!!
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