Broken

2013

Broken

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

63%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,092
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Movie Info

The summer holidays have just begun and 11 year-old Skunk's afternoons are full of day dreams and curious wanderings around her neighborhood - with the exception that she must regularly give herself injections to combat her type 1 diabetes. When, one day, Skunk (Eloise Laurence) discovers her bitter and angry older neighbor, Mr. Oswald (Rory Kinnear), savagely beating Rick, a psychologically-troubled boy from the neighborhood whom Mr. Oswald's daughter has callously and fictitiously accused of rape, Skunk's innocence begins to vanish. Trying to find solace with her loving nanny (Zana Marjanovic) and father (Tim Roth), with whom she is very close, Skunk is unwittingly drawn into her neighbors' unfolding melodrama involving violence, sex, and life-shattering illness. Her home, her neighborhood and her school all become treacherous environments where the happy certainties of childhood give way to a fear-filled doubt, and the promise of a complex, broken future. Overwhelmed by her experiences, Skunk herself is drawn into an ethereal chaos from which she may only return through the intense love of those closest to her. (c) Film Movement

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Critic Reviews for Broken

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (21)

  • The comic and tragic elements are nicely balanced, and the three families' stories neatly and economically knit together.

    Jul 19, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Although there are some light moments and traces of dark humor, Broken's overall aura is one of dread.

    Jul 19, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • An absorbing coming-of-age drama that suddenly, pointlessly self-destructs with an onslaught of cheap ironies and overkill.

    Jul 19, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • [It] drives its plot via an interesting and unusual character: the female victim who's actually a wholesale liar.

    Jul 19, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Broken'' embraces the sort of unappealing British miserabilism perfected by "Ratcatcher" director Lynne Ramsay.

    Jul 18, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • At a certain point, Mr. Norris forsakes realism for theatricalized fantasy, and "Broken" ultimately loses its stylistic cohesion, if not its humanity.

    Jul 18, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/5

Audience Reviews for Broken

  • Aug 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2014
    This is a pretty damn good coming-of-age film with some top-notch performances, great cinematography. The main problem, however, is the incredibly melodramatic last act of the film, especially when it really didn't need to be as I was already invested in the characters and the story, and the fact that the film got so dramatic at the end there really took away from what had been a great movie until that point. Yes, there's a lot of symbolism in the last 10 minutes of the film but it could've beem done in a way that wasn't as emotionally exploitative as it was. Even with that I appreciated how everything in the film seemed to play a part in the ending. I don't think any scene is wasted or used for purposes that don't benefit the climax of the film, so I'm glad the film was so focused on its story. I liked the chemistry between the cast, it felt real and organic rather than rigid and heavily scripted. That works wonders when you're trying to tell this type of story and I think the kid actors, in particular Eloise Laurence, the lead actress, really benefited from that chemistry as it made them more outgoing and genuinely feel like they were a family. The writing is solid and the story, if not particularly unique, is still well-told with a great cast to certainly help elevate that story. I was a bit disappointed with the melodrama in the third act, particularly when the film had been so great without it, but this is still a damn good movie and definitely worth giving a shot to if you have Netflix.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 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.
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Jul 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.
    familiar s Super Reviewer

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