The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Christopher Webster [Celluloid 03.15.09] movie review

[Editor's note: Breaking Upwards just had it's world premier at SXSW]

Year: 2009
Directors: Daryl Wein
Writers: Zoe Lister Jones / Daryl Wein / Peter Duchan
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Breaking Upwards is an effortlessly hip and funny new indie flick that easily ranks among the best films about relationships I've ever seen. For anyone who's ever thought that mainstream romantic comedies are a tad cliched or that the majority of their indie counterparts are quickly becoming limp and ironic flip sides of the same relationship fantasy coin, Breaking Upwards is exactly what you've been waiting for. It captures the modern relationship as it is; complex and not always easy, without painting people or their problems with a black and white brush. I would even go so far as to say it accomplishes for relationships in the new millennium what Annie Hall did in the 70s. Plus, it has great music in it.

Daryl and Zoe are the most mature couple on the planet. They've decided that, instead of just breaking up now that Zoe is feeling "bored" in their relationship, they will try taking "days off" to ween themselves off of each other. They'll be together for four days a week but on the other three they're not allowed to see each other, call each other or even think about each other. Total independence. Oh yeah, and that also means no more sharing Daryl's Netflix queue! That's a very important part of the agreement and I was glad to see this film had the courage to go there.

Of course you don't have to be an expert to see the writing on the wall. Regardless of whether it's culturally learned or instinctual, we puny humans are hardwired to be monogamous and emotions like jealousy or the fear of being alone in the big bad world are pretty hard to choke down; even for the maturest of us. But Zoe is determined to make it work. She's convinced there's something or someone out there to make her life complete and Daryl's just determined to make her happy. Does Zoe find what she's looking for? That mister perfect from all those romantic comedies? Does Daryl continue to put up with her indecision? Well you'll just have to see the film.

The film features a pitch perfect ensemble cast lead by extrememely talented newcomers Zoe Lister Jones (as Zoe) and Daryl Wein (as Daryl). Yes they seem to play themselves which makes me wonder if the film so closely resemble life because it's base on their own relationship.

Two actors which really deserved to be singled out are Julie White and Andrea Martin who turn in fantastic performances as the mothers of the couple. Comedicly neurotic has never played so well and these vets are in top form.

My only real complaint about the film is that it criminally underuses young actress Olivia Thirlby who's turned in some great performances recently in Snow Angels, Juno, and The Wackness. When she showed up I was delighted to find out what her character might bring to the mix but then she sort of just vanished into thin air, relegated to basically a walk-on part. Ah well, no biggie.

Breaking Upwards isn't simply about two people who don't get along and break up. It's about getting too seriously involved too young and having life sort of subtly drift you apart. It's not about big decisions but rather the little ones and how they all add up to be pretty big in the end. I like this movie a lot, in fact I watched it twice in one day.

You might also like


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

I agree: this is a fantastic film, exceptionally well written. I highly recommend it!


Adrian (13 years ago) Reply

Well deserved review! Really, an awesome and surprisingly touching look at young love. The film treats it with more reverance than you usually see given to relationships in movies about "our generation" (probably because all the writers and creators are our generation). Fantastic movie.


ChinaSindrone (13 years ago) Reply

I saw it 2wice and cried -- totally amazing soundtrack. I want to buy it (is it on iTunes...Myspace?)


diana (13 years ago) Reply

i loved this movie! i think the cast is fantastic (pablo schreiber is so funny!) and the writing is just quirky in the most wonderful way. it's honest and funny and just a lovely film.


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

I thought it was complete garbage and this director is a total hack...and that Thirbly broad is only in it cuz the director thinks he's hip...guess what...he's not


dulchinea (13 years ago) Reply

saw the trailer and want to see it, but how?? ChinaSindrone, on the website they have a link to buy the soundtrack.

Leave a comment