Broken English (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Broken English (1996)

Broken English (1996)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Along with Once Were Warriors, Broken English effectively captures contemporary New Zealand as a society in transition. Broken English dramatizes how the effect of immigration to the cities of New Zealand by both its native peoples, the Maoris, and Europeans seeking refuge from political persecution has not produced a harmonious melting pot. Ivan (Rade Serbedzija) is an embittered Croatian who fled to his wife's native Aukland when war broke out in Bosnia. Brooding over TV news reports on what is happening to his homeland (and displaying more than a little guilt over his flight from there), Ivan lashes out at anyone outside of his insulated Croatian community, including his gentle Maori neighbors. His drug-running business allows him a comfortable lifestyle, but he's still irritated that his young adult daughters won't mind him. The eldest, Nina (Aleksandra Vujcic), is a waitress who takes up with a colleague, a Maori cook named Eddie (Julian "Sonny" Arahanga, who also appeared in Once Were Warriors), in part because he's attractive but also to tweak her father. Complicating matters is an arranged marriage Nina has agreed to with a Chinese immigrant colleague at the restaurant; he's willing to pay her 16,000 dollars just to make his residency legal, so he can be with his girlfriend, Clara. Originally rated NC-17 for an energetic but hardly explicit sex scene between Nina and Eddie, the film was later edited to earn an "R" rating.

Cast

Nancy Anthony
as Essie's Party Guest
Mary Ball
as Essie's Party Guest
Mona Ross
as Auntie Marja
Rudi Bartus
as Ivan's Party Guest
Milka Bilcic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Berta Boric
as Ivan's Party Guest
Stephen Hall
as Ivan's Mate
Stephen Ure
as Ivan's Mate
Tetapu Daniel
as Essie's Party Guest
Vinko Bakich
as Ivan's Mate
Zeljko Bilcic
as Ivan's Mate
Nora Eiao
as Essie's Party Guest
Rade Borkovic
as Ivan's Mate
Terangi Eiao
as Essie's Party Guest
Dywane George
as Essie's Party Guest
Chris Ruka
as Reverend Essie
Nui Tuakana
as Essie's Wife
George More O'Ferrall
as Essie's Party Guest
Teariki Vaerua
as Essie's Family Member
Shane Harris
as Essie's Family Member
Tepori Vaerua
as Essie's Family Member
Naomi Kino
as Essie's Family Member
Rocky Pepe
as Essie's Family Member
Crystal Harris
as Essie's Family Member
Zaho Jing
as Clara
Romey Ruka
as Essie's Family Member
Mirija Jukic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Chris Anderton
as Palermo Band Member
Dominic Blaazer
as Palermo Band Member
Fred Sy
as Chow
Tihana Kovacevic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Sinisa Copic
as Croatian Relative
Anna Jankovaic
as Croatian Relative
Gordana Vluck
as Croatian Relative
Jerry Lovrin
as Ivan's Party Guest
Bruno Relic
as Croatian Relative
Apera Mangi
as Essie's Party Guest
Makedon Stojkov
as Croatian Relative
Gilbert Goldie
as Cab Driver
Emma Lovell
as Nina And Eddie's Daughter
Tiromoana Mil
as Essie's Party Guest
Junior Moses
as Essie's Party Guest
Ajrin Nenadic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Iavn Nobilo
as Ivan's Party Guest
Mary Nola
as Ivan's Party Guest
Tony Pecotic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Pero Skoric
as Ivan's Party Guest
Taokotaianga Cultural Group
as Essie's Party Guest
Marija Tomic
as Ivan's Party Guest
Tai Tuakana
as Essie's Party Guest
Nellye Vela
as Ivan's Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for Broken English

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5)

The situation is not original, but the setting makes it seem so, and the director and co-writer, Gregor Nicholas, is alert to nuances of the characters.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An absorbing portrait of New Zealand's ill-blended melting pot.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4
USA Today
Top Critic

Zoe Cassavetes... lets Nora's complicated emotional story play out, and she finds in Posey a strong collaborator in catching all of Nora's tics and charms.

July 20, 2007 | Rating: 3/4
Salt Lake Tribune

Explores the explosive power of cross-cultural love and the ways one passionate woman finds to escape the prison of prejudice.

February 27, 2002 | Full Review…
Spirituality and Practice

The film shies away from a lot of the dramatics it could have gone into, such as prying into the psyches of what drives people to blindly hate.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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