Reviews


Film Review: Breaking Upwards

Microbudget relationship comedy gets the details right.

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/133110-Breaking_Upwards_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

If only all couples would be able to exploit their relationship issues as deftly as Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, collaborators on the new romantic dramedy Breaking Upwards. Based on their real-life relationship, the film bears an undeniable stamp of authenticity in its depiction of the romantic crisis suffered by two twenty-somethings in New York's ever picturesque Greenwich Village.

Aspiring writer Daryl (Wein) and aspiring actress Zoe (Lister-Jones) have been together for four years, and ennui has long since set in. Bored with the sex and annoyed with each other's habits, they decide to shake up their relationship by initiating a period of rigidly structured "breaks" in which they're free to explore other options.

This proves more complicated than it sounds, with each eventually succumbing to sexual temptations accompanied by the inevitable guilt and jealousy. Their concerned parents—Zoe's pot-smoking artist mother (Andrea Martin) and Daryl's emotionally repressed dentist father (Peter Friedman) and meddling Jewish mother (Julie White)—get involved as well, with all hell breaking loose at, where else, a Passover Seder.

The film doesn't exactly break any new ground in its depiction of relationship angst, and its narrative structure is more than a little wobbly. But it ripples with details that ring true-to-life, such as the diminutive Zoe's insecurity when surrounded by tall, willowy models and her attraction to a sexy actor (Pablo Schreiber) who wants to take their onstage relationship to a private level.

Shot on a reported shoestring budget of $15,000, the film nonetheless has a polished, professional look and benefits immeasurably from the entertaining contributions from such theater pros as White, Friedman, Schreiber and Martin.

The hangdog Wein and particularly the winsome Lister-Jones are appealing enough to make us truly care about whether their characters are able to work it out. But however their true-life relationship progressed, they have something worthy to show for it in this charming effort.
-The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Breaking Upwards

Microbudget relationship comedy gets the details right.

April 2, 2010

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/133110-Breaking_Upwards_Md.jpg

If only all couples would be able to exploit their relationship issues as deftly as Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, collaborators on the new romantic dramedy Breaking Upwards. Based on their real-life relationship, the film bears an undeniable stamp of authenticity in its depiction of the romantic crisis suffered by two twenty-somethings in New York's ever picturesque Greenwich Village.

Aspiring writer Daryl (Wein) and aspiring actress Zoe (Lister-Jones) have been together for four years, and ennui has long since set in. Bored with the sex and annoyed with each other's habits, they decide to shake up their relationship by initiating a period of rigidly structured "breaks" in which they're free to explore other options.

This proves more complicated than it sounds, with each eventually succumbing to sexual temptations accompanied by the inevitable guilt and jealousy. Their concerned parents—Zoe's pot-smoking artist mother (Andrea Martin) and Daryl's emotionally repressed dentist father (Peter Friedman) and meddling Jewish mother (Julie White)—get involved as well, with all hell breaking loose at, where else, a Passover Seder.

The film doesn't exactly break any new ground in its depiction of relationship angst, and its narrative structure is more than a little wobbly. But it ripples with details that ring true-to-life, such as the diminutive Zoe's insecurity when surrounded by tall, willowy models and her attraction to a sexy actor (Pablo Schreiber) who wants to take their onstage relationship to a private level.

Shot on a reported shoestring budget of $15,000, the film nonetheless has a polished, professional look and benefits immeasurably from the entertaining contributions from such theater pros as White, Friedman, Schreiber and Martin.

The hangdog Wein and particularly the winsome Lister-Jones are appealing enough to make us truly care about whether their characters are able to work it out. But however their true-life relationship progressed, they have something worthy to show for it in this charming effort.
-The Hollywood Reporter

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here