2007 - United Kingdom - 120 minutes
Writer and Director - Anthony Minghella
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars
Don't be misled by the title. Even though there is some burglary in this film, it is not the story of a crime. It is the story of a man, two women, two children, and the complex relationships they endure amongst themselves and those around them. If you are looking for an extremely well acted and excellently produced adult drama, this is it.
Breaking and Entering offers us two families in crisis. Will Francis and his wife Liv - they refer to each other as husband and wife even though they are not legally married - have reached that point in their relationship where communication has ceased. There is further stress upon the relationship caused by the problems of Bea - her daughter, his stepdaughter whom he loves as his own. Bea appears to have some form of autism in which she cannot sleep and possesses unreasonable fears such as her fear of the color yellow. Needless-to-say, most of Liv and Will's time at home is spent dealing with the problems of their daughter.
At work, Will is a successful architect and developer who, along with his partner, is working on a massive renewal of the King's Cross area of London. In the film, King's Cross is an "iffy" area peopled mostly by members of the lower class - many immigrants from a variety of countries. Will's office is in a converted warehouse and is suffering regular burglaries which are somewhat of a mystery to the police because the criminals seem to have possession of the alarm codes. The cleaning crew is suspect, but Will and his partner think there is another answer. They begin to stake out the business at night.
Through the burglaries, we meet the other family in crisis. Amira is a Bosnian refugee who is struggling to make a life for herself and her son, Miro who - under the influence of his crooked uncle - is part of the team committing the crimes.
After an unsuccessful attempt at another break-in by Miro, Will follows him home but does not confront him. Will discovers that Amira does sewing in her home. He decides to try to find out more about the boy by taking some clothes to his mother to be altered. Things get really complicated when Will becomes enamored of Amira.
This film is filled with great actors and great performances lead by Jude Law as Will and Juliette Binoche as Amira. I must admit that I really like Jude Law as an actor and in my mind, Juliette Binoche can do no wrong, so just watching these two interact was an exemplary treat. The young actor, Rafi Gavron, who plays the son is amazing. Plus, these three are supported by a long list of excellent actors headed by Robin Wright Penn and Ray Winstone.
I find a certain weakness in the ending of the film in the reaction of Will's wife to the whole situation. I don't know any woman who would have made the decisions she made. To say more would spoil the film for anyone interested in watching it, so I'll just leave it at that. If you enjoy watching interesting and complex adults dealing with interesting and complex problems, you'll probably really enjoy Breaking and Entering.
July 2, 2007