30 years of visual culture
I have this awful habit of re-watching to death all of my favourite movies. I probably have seen The Devil Wears Prada at least five times, Chicago and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at least three times, and also this subtly romantic movie called Broken English, that I have just re-watched for the third time recently. As with every watch, the quiet and passive heart-touching plot and Nora Wilder’s (Parker Posey) captivating and relatable performance reminded me how good it was.
The first time I watched this film was when I was on a flight to Toronto three years ago. I think I watched it twice while on that plane. I wasn’t even really paying attention to the plot because I think I was a little bit too young then to care about love and romance; instead I was mentally taking notes of Parker Posey’s nonchalantly cool, artsy style.
But anyway, back to my view of the movie now that I am older.
I loved that part when Nora was sitting on the train on the way to the airport (in Paris). She looked glum, but still, there was a sense of calmness in her face. Even though she hasn’t found Julien (yet), she looked satisfied. Her search for love may have failed, but she found her “self” and met a few good people along the way during that search. God knows how much I can relate to the “finding myself” part. So, even if the movie ended here, all is still good (for me).
Also, I loved the electronic music playing in the background during this scene. It was so perfect, as it heightened the scene that came after it (Yes, she saw Julien).
Loved Nora’s style in this entire film. Her choice of loose, flowy clothes, eccentric yet perfectly flattering shapes and silhouettes, very subtle tasteful palettes and interesting mixing-and-matching of shapes and textures is very New York. That, plus her poised demeanour earns her a spot in my “Women I Love” folder. In other words, she’s on my “I Want To Be Her” lists. Creepy, I know.
Parker Posey was PERFECT for the part. She has this lovely, interesting, refreshing indie vibe that is not annoying at all. She appears smart and seems like a woman with substance, although this was not emphasized too much in the film, as the miserable, hopeless side of her character was the focus. But she’s a far cry from the indie superstar and always-wide-eyed Zooey Deschanel, who just seems too cutesy and spaced out to be ever taken seriously.
Look at her holding the cigarette with such grace and poise. What a woman!
Unlike other similar indie films, Broken English is one that does not try too hard. It is a subtle film that gives a soft nudge of romance and of heartache, and one that definitely gets better after every watch. It’s not a Hollywood film at all, which I loved, and is a genuine, believable story that outlines real-life dilemmas. There is a little slap of Hollywood cliché at the near end though, when Nora and Julien do find each other (not saying this could not happen in real life, but it is too serendipitous), and Nora stays with Julien en Paris.
As I have read on several reviews, the movie could have amounted to so much more, and could have totally been a splendid, superb indie movie — one that steers away from the usual Hollywood romantic comedy plot (miserable-girl-meets-prince-charming-and-lives-happily-ever-after); however, in the end, it still fell into that inevitable storyline.
Hollywood cliché/fairy-tale ending or not, this movie still is a must-watch.
Even before the Agyness Deyn or Alice Dellal kind of cool, Shirley Manson was already rocking that kind of cool. Spot the shaved head? And the androgynous look?
Garbage made the most amazing videos EVER. Bring ‘em back.
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What took them so long.
Introduction by the Author, by Fran Lebowitz
BEST. MADONNA. EVER.
Human Nature, 1995.
My manly fingers need these delicate rings.