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Breaking and Entering

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Jan
Breaking and Entering
from Film Forum, 02/15/07

In Secrets and Lies, Mike Leigh's fantastic drama about marriage, parenthood, and the secrets we conceal, the closing act becomes a sort of round-table confession. Everyone is crying and confessing things.

A similar thing happens in Anthony Minghella's new film Breaking and Entering, which stars Jude Law and Juliette Binoche. A wide range of characters engage in all manner of misbehavior, which can, if viewers are not discerning, become quite enjoyable to watch. But whether or not it has its heart in the right place as it unfolds these stories of crime and irresponsibility, it arrives at a conclusion of repentance.

Christian critics are trying to decide if the meaningful conclusion justifies the amount of wrongdoing graphically illustrated earlier in the film.

Bob Hoose (Plugged In) says, "Is it celebrating lustful desire? Or lauding commitment and mercy? If the answer is both, I'm left with one more question: Should we justify the former by hoping for the latter?"

Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) says, "[The movie] is a thematically worthy but only so-so drama. … [Minghella] has assembled a quality cast, but interweaves his serious themes of immigration, motherhood (as sharply contrasted by the passionate Amira and too-cool Liv), and economic disparity into an only mildly compelling—and, as noted, not very plausible—plot, though the film's moral resolution involves a strong affirmation of forgiveness and reconciliation."

Mike Smith (Past the Popcorn) is impressed. "The film is intriguing, satisfying, and entertaining. I was surprised at the details of life that caused catharsis in some characters and bitterness in others, the greatness of spirit in the least likely, and the weakness of character of the most 'regular.'"

Most mainstream critics are not arrested by Breaking and Entering.

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