Broken English

Dir: Zoe R. Cassavettes. 2007. P. Posey, M. Poupaud, D. de Matteo, G. Rowlands, P. Bogdanovich. English. Romantic Comedy.
Broken English

There is a moment in this film when Parker Posey is so vulnerable and desperate and beautiful that one remembers why we loved desperate crazy women in cinema before all this feel-good-about-yourself hullabaloo started.

She clutches her leaving lover, face wet with tears, slip bunched around limbs longing to fling themselves at him and loathing herself for it. Such a romantic image recalls French New Wave and American Noir as you witness an inevitable breakdown. Her love and her crazy are startling and translatable. This chemistry with herself is part of why Posey's Nora is one of the best character studies I've seen in a long time. Posey explores and exposes throwing away the funny femme characterizations she's begun to play with in bigger, less indie films and shatters herself into so many facets - sparkling like a jewel. Brilliant. Complex. Fragile, flawed and unique. The story and stories around her are just the stuff off indie romantic comedies and ultimately fill in the background of what can only be her in a focus so sharp we truly understand the phrase lovable neurotic.

Her romantic catalyst is portrayed with equal depth and slightly off kilter charm by Melvil Poupaud, who without much screen time makes Julien as real, flawed and secretly as desperate for love as Nora. Both are skittish and there is nothing more terrifying than love. With all its affectionate realism there is also a bit of magic and some of that hullabaloo mentioned earlier. Zoe R. Cassavettes has written and directed a sweet movie but I believe, before we did, she fell for Nora and brought out the best of what could have been a flat and flimsy date movie. Instead, it's the feel-desperately-good movie of the year .

Posted by:
Jessica Kaman
Dec 29, 2007 4:12pm
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