Laurie Sparham
Lisa Schwarzbaum
January 24, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Breaking and Entering

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
120 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/08/06
Wide Release Date
01/19/07
performer
Juliette Binoche, Jude Law, Martin Freeman, Robin Wright, Ray Winstone
director
Anthony Minghella
distributor
The Weinstein Company
author
Anthony Minghella
genre
Drama

We gave it a D

Modern London life is terribly complicated for the attractive, articulate adults in Breaking and Entering. And yet it’s hard to care about any of their woes, so impermeable is this handsome-looking exercise in Gentry Guilt. The demands of her emotionally troubled daughter strain the long-term relationship between Liv (Robin Wright Penn), a depressed Scandinavian documentary filmmaker (I think she’s listed that way on her résumé), and Will (Jude Law), a landscape architect who’s got other woes because his office has been repeatedly burgled. Was the culprit the pretty Nigerian office cleaner fancied by Will’s business partner, Sandy (Martin Freeman)? Or a Bosnian teenage boy whose mother (Juliette Binoche), a seamstress, still grieves for her lost Sarajevo and her murdered husband? Naturally, after doing surveillance work the cops won’t, Will follows the boy home and starts bringing the woman his mending; naturally, with Law and Binoche in proximity, sparks fly. Meanwhile, a chatty hooker (Vera Farmiga) prattles like a one-woman Greek — or maybe Romanian — chorus.

Law is serious, adult; Binoche makes a lovely symbol of Sarajevo’s heartbreak. But a symbol she is, in the first original script from writer-director Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain) since 1991’s Truly, Madly, Deeply. However admirably Minghella urges a break from complacency and an entry into a state of local/global compassion, his characters are position holders rather than people.

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