Thursday, January 03, 2008

Film Review Broken

The film Broken captures your town, my town, everybody's town in the good old USA.

Broken is all of us, bits and pieces, like a mosaic (cliched? weallareflawed that makes us cliches until...).

You tube soundtrack "Broken" Heather Graham


The main character, Hope, whoever, embodies a bit of all of us, no matter our individual choices in life, we make them and things begin to happen. We don't make them and nothing happens. OK, something happens, but not what we really want.

Aspiring songwriting and singing career is Hope's choice in this glimpse into the fictional but surely true story based on some artist's, or a composite of many artists', real lives.

Strumming along on her whatever guitar positioned pretty much over all but her face she's so tiny with the belief in herself that she has true talent and one day will make it as a musician if she moves from wherever (Ohio) to LA, (dreamland) Hope, whoever, rents an apartment wherever in whatever part of town which is a magnet to the "struggling" people who reside in such rotting wood, chipping paint, dripping faucet, rundown places.

Somehow, somewhere, Hope meets a man who she will resemble soon enough, if she allows his mesmerizing yes-i-love-you-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah charismatic influence to take over her soul and her life.

She succumbs to his temptations and charms. There are seven-sides of negativity. Boyfriend, who she met on a beach, all alone, there, then, he shows up, eventually succeeds in cajoling her to shoot up with whatever, however it's done.

Sometime and somehow, Hope gets a job, in a diner, oh what is the name of the diner, it should be a real place, will have to look. (OK, there, as I'm writing I'm watching Broken again, I'll look for it.)(I'm also reading the blurb on the back of the rental DVD, unlike other reviewers, obviously, geesh that's where the 7-sided negativity inspiration came from.)

Oh, Hope whoever's new boyfriend's name now she's in LA (dreamland, cliche) is Will (and in the movie, there is a line, not many will catch it - where there's a will, there's a way). Clever that, to name the character Will and have a line like that - it's a hint people, it is, of what's to unfold and happen in the film.

Where there's a will there's a way. Where there's a dream there's the possibility of a reality. (I came up with that my self.)(It's deep.)

Even though you believe in yourself, you know you are gonna succeed, one day, you will find a way because you have the will power, you slip and you fall flat on your behind, or on your head. The point is, you fall.

You make choices, but you don't think you do, you think something else out there is out to get you, only you, everybody else is to blame, everybody except you.

You sink deeper into cliched "failure."

Maybe for days, maybe for months, maybe for years. Maybe until the last gasp of life's breath you take. Even then, though, there is hope.

In Hope's case, she slipped into drug-induced stupors brought on by dreaming and shooting up whatever, however, and dreaming in, of, dreamland's promise of choices. Her first time, Will used a belt to wrap around Hope's arm. He did it to her, his fault she got hooked.

Later in the film, after Hope gives him the boot, Will returns to her door, wanting back into her life. Hope blames Will for her self-degradation. You're not good for me.

Hope allowed Will to take over her life and her very being. She didn't realize this until, well, I don't want to spoil everything for you. Plus, I'm not really sure what exactly prompted Hope to take another look at her life and her self and her soul.

Because in the beginning, she is shown leaving somewhere, where oh where was she? She is seen after obviously capturing that motivation necessary to make a change.

A change in one's self, to one's self, by one's self, for one's self.

So when exactly Hope woke up remains a mystory to me. If you really catch how, when, and where let me know because I think you're on to something important about this film.

Every real, really real, waking moment with Will was the same routine. Well you know what, you get the idea. He promised she would make it as an artist. She wanted him to be her "muse." He videotaped her humming and mouthing her song, yes, her song, keep that in mind. But the song had been incomplete, she had been struggling after all, remember.

Her dream-of-a song criss-crossed and spanned the entire film. Bits and pieces of her song in the diner, on the rooftop, in the diner again. The name, the name of the diner, pa-leese. It's not a place you dream about.

Talking to customers, asking what they wanted, conversations overheard.

Diner characters she saw every day but didn't really see, yet. People she met who smoked uncaringly about others around them blowing the smoke out in perfect circles like you see in the movies not even caring about any youngsters in the room with family and the potential of second-hand smoke and cancer.

I was in an Applebee's the other day and yes they have smoking smack right in the middle of the room, at the bar. Uncaring, until...

Persons who should have been of interest, but weren't. Hope encountered them. Dregs of the earth, cliched everywhere we go, no matter what part of town, wherever. Hope, whoever, sat down with them, dealt with them, accepted them.

She asked a bedraggled really "older" looking woman if she was okay. Coffee? More, on the house. Your last dime is no good here. Down on your luck. Can I help YOU? She looked at herself through the woman's eyes, as though the woman would see Hope staring back at her if she looked in a broken mirror on the sloppy filth-encrusted bathroom wall, or the one behind the room-length counter.

Her story - whose story? which one's story? - became a story in and out of the diner. She had to make a living, until she succeeded and was worth a million dollars.

Hope was given easier choices than being a wait-ress in a diner (get it "wait" ress - not knocking waitresses and busboys - some are awaiting that break).

A producer and scriptwriter seated in the diner discussed a script that was being written as they spoke right there in the diner.

Hope neared their table, and the writer motioned her over.

What do you think he asked?

You do have to watch the film, I'm not going to spoil everything. The producer raised questions about the script. Is it finished? Nope. Have any backing. Nup. Hope said it sounded like her life. An ex-boyfriend, look at me, she said, do I look like the kind of woman who would...

There were users of whatever trying to make a deal right there in front of everybody else without a thought or care about anybody else, until Hope's life was threatened.

Then there was a Madam who was supposed to be the act-ress Linda Hamilton.

Now really, as I was listening to the song in the end, I was shocked in the credits to see Linda Hamilton's name pop up.

Other reviewers note she's in the film as the Madam. So it must be her.

I'd have never guessed after a first look at the film. Hamilton didn't look like Hamilton at all. Not even a glimpse of the actual actress Linda Hamilton was in that character. Madam, whoever.

And I thought afterwards, why didn't Hamilton stand out for identification?

Well, you have to watch the movie, I'm not going to spoil it all.

Those characters gave her whoever, Hope, whoever, something. A gift that goes on giving?

A way. One - or more than one- over time - she could have rejected.

It wasn't just Will who gave her the way, it was everybody she met, everyone she greeted and served, at first not caring a spittle about any of them, not caring about herself, how could she care about them.

She began to care about her self. She'd be forever lost wherever if she didn't. She would be Will and not herself unless she cared. She would be the mother she rejected unless she cared. Her soul was in peril, she recognized.

In caring about herself she had to see others and let in others. No matter who they were. Of course, she had to distance herself from the bad and perilous influence of Will, the negativity of Will. Had Will changed, for real, one day down the road taking a different path, she may perhaps have chosen to allow him into her life again.

For now, Will was the bad, and she needed the good, the positive.

Her life wasn't the only life in real danger with Will and after she rejected Will and signed a restraining order against him.

Everybody's life was meaningless to one person, Will, as you'll see evidenced when he points the weapon at everybody else, except himself, even the person he said he loved from the outset, Hope, whoever.

Then, everybody's life became meaningful to one person. Hope.

It's only when one realizes that we're all in this together, we have to care and to give, or we won't receive squattle until we care about somebody anybody else without thinking about what's in it for us.

That's what Hope, struggling to find her self, found.

Hope found herself and in doing so Hope found her own voice.

Her bits and seeds of a song bloomed as her story unfolded in the diner, wherever, whatever its name.

Listen to the entire song in the end. The song proves Hope woke up. When, oh when?

By then, Hope had to make a choice to preserve her own life, for real. Not many have to make that choice of physical self-preservation. Oh, did you catch that.

Yes, Virginia, we do have to make a choice of physical self-preservation.

We do have to make a choice as Dr. Phil would say, to be our self. Our authentic self. Self, Matters.

Hope's life mattered, her self mattered. Hope found her self, lived her self, and wrote a song about her self and all whoever from wherever she became along the way, or was along the way, and will always remain after the way is found.

Hope became a little of all of the people she met or was because after all we're pretty much all the same.

Hope didn't disappoint herself. She separated parts of herself into another whole, brought them all together in not a new her, but a real her.

Another line in the film something like I might not succeed, I might fail, but at least, I'll know I tried.

Hope's song.

Broken... Hanging



Listen to it unfold as if it's your song.

A different way, different set of choices perhaps, but one that you choose and you shape yourself.

Only one quibble. Just the one. OK I don't like the closed eyes while singing either. Two. And Will was a tad overweight who would fall for him. Three.

In the beginning, Hope videotapes herself as she's about to leave wherever, Ohio. (Small town where she isn't making it. Ah, Cleveland, she says, if you listen closely to that sort of thing or go back and find out where she came from.)

What is it they say. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Goodbye Cleveland. Everybody's been telling me not to go, not to follow my dream. But I gotta get out of here. Cause I see my Mom and I figure if I end up like that I might as well be dead already. I've been dreaming of this my whole life. I'm gonna miss everyone but if I don't go I'll always wonder what might have been. And even if I fail at least I did it I tried. But I'm not going to fail. I'm gonna make it. I'm gonna be worth something some day. A million dollars.

(Hope, Broken)

Hope, you didn't have to leave Cleveland. You just had to find yourself. Be yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Be all that you are. Cliched and everything.

Hope, even if you didn't make it by societal standards, you became you, you are worth everything, the real you is worth much more - so much more - than money.

You'll know who(m) Hope considers her Mom-me to be, where Hope found herself, the name of the diner, haha thought I'd tell you that, didn't you, after you see...


A 10 star film if you hear it.


Net the Truth Online

Disagree strongly

Movie review: 'Broken'
‘Broken’ apt name for a metaphoric clunker
By Jessica Reaves
October 17, 2007

Strongly disagree. Hope finished crafting her song - Hanging Tree - by the end so she succeeded in telling a story, maybe her own story, or a compilation of stories, to get there. She wasn't a midwestern woman, in the opening of the film, Hope says goodbye Cleveland. Cleveland is a large city in Ohio. She wasn't naive, either, or she wouldn't have caught on that Will was bad for her... (Net the Truth Online)

On DVD this Week: 'Broken' starring Heather Graham and Jeremy Sisto
Posted by Link November 18th, 2007

Was Hope really a waitress at the diner or just another hapless junkie waiting for the next score. It’s pretty obvious that it’s the latter and such storytelling incites one to re-watch this dark and intriguing tale.

a naive Midwestern woman

Reviewer didn't get it at all (Net the Truth Online)

What was real and what was her imagination...

Graham plays rocker

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