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Author Topic: "Broken" Reviews  (Read 1602 times)

Offline Rebecca

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2017, 03:18:28 AM »
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Kafkaesque and Capraesque.

Nice. Glad there are still a few good writers around.

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2017, 04:16:16 AM »
Sean Bean. What a revelation
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I’ve been watching him in awe in the excellent Jimmy McGovern-scripted drama Broken, which drew to a close this week, as a troubled Catholic priest tending to his flock in a deprived area of a Northern city. I’ve always thought of the Sheffield-born actor as watchable, reliable, capable and convincing in any of the many and varied roles he has played. True, he is not the most chameleon-like of actors – there is always, it seems to me, an element of himself in whichever character he is portraying, not least in the fact that his lines are more often than not delivered in that unmistakable gruff south Yorkshire growl – but there is never any faulting his honesty.
 
His performances are always wholly authentic whether he’s playing rugged military man Richard Sharpe in the Napoleonic War-set historical drama Sharpe, Boromir in Lord of the Rings, Ned Stark in Game of Thrones or an outrageously louche and sexy Mellors in the 1993 BBC adaptation of D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. So, let’s just say I’ve always been a bit of a fan, but I have to admit I had not – until now – fully appreciated quite how talented he is. His performance as Father Michael Kerrigan was as heart-breaking as it was mesmerising. Dealing gently and thoughtfully with the complex needs of his parishioners whose lives are blighted by poverty and a broken, overstretched welfare system, Father Michael had his own demons to contend with. Bean’s ravaged features eloquently expressed an entire hinterland of weary empathy, inner turmoil and traumatic past. In many scenes Bean was entirely silent but he nevertheless communicated heartfelt emotions that frequently moved me to tears. For me Broken was one of the most powerful dramas – and Bean’s the most truthful and affecting performance – that I’ve seen on television in years. Maybe it spoke to something deep in my lapsed Catholic heart, but there was more to it than that.

This story was about social injustice, humanity, pain, guilt, decency and redemption. Neither did the script gloss over the darker and more shameful aspects of the Catholic church. McGovern always knew what Bean was capable of. They have often worked together and in a recent Guardian feature he was quoted as saying: “I always go back to Sean – I just think he’s world class. People know he’s good, but I know he’s great.” We all know now. There will be BAFTAs, surely. McGovern and Bean are quite a double-act. Let’s hope they are both – together or separately – back on our screens again soon.

 
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/sean-bean-what-a-revelation-1-8642605

Offline Rebecca

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2017, 07:45:38 AM »
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delivered in that unmistakable gruff south Yorkshire growl
Um, yeah, that's part of why women find him so fucking sexy.

 
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In many scenes Bean was entirely silent but he nevertheless communicated heartfelt emotions that frequently moved me to tears. For me Broken was one of the most powerful dramas – and Bean’s the most truthful and affecting performance – that I’ve seen on television in years. Maybe it spoke to something deep in my lapsed Catholic heart, but there was more to it than that.
Yes, the most astounding drama in years. For many reasons. For every reason.

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2017, 12:15:48 AM »
NETFLIX: "BROKEN"
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  The British Netflix mini-series starring Sean Bean as a Catholic priest is an interesting (and flawed) take on modern sacerdotal life. Fr. Michael Kerrigan leads a rather grim and joyless existence as the pastor of a gorgeous gothic structure with very few congregants. He's intimately involved in his parishioners' lives and knows them well. He's well-rounded in that he enjoys some bowling and pub-time with friends here and there, but is ever-ready for the emergencies (spiritual and otherwise) of his flock.

THE DAILY LIFE OF A PRIEST

 Many contemporary realities are presented: immigration, "hate crimes," single parenting, clergy sex abuse, mental illness, suicide, and we follow certain characters through all five episodes. Is there an "agenda" here? Sort of.  The screenwriter is baby boomer Jimmy McGovern from Liverpool, so some issues are presented through that hackneyed narrative of "Why can't Catholics just get with it and follow whatever the culture is doing?"

First, what's good about "Broken": the fact that people care about the daily life of a priest! "Broken" has many similarities to the film (not the book) "Diary of a City Priest," a lovely little depiction of a priest in a dying parish in the inner city who leads an unglamorous, uneventful life, and perhaps even wonders if he's doing any good. The answer is yes: A lot of good for both the upwardly mobile and the down and out in his little corner of the world, one needy person at a time.

NOT "THE THORNBIRDS"

"Broken" also shows Fr. Michael going to a priest friend (approximately his same age) to talk over personal and pastoral matters. As he's faced with tricky conscience conundrums, he doesn't take them lightly, but is intent on doing the right thing, not the easy thing. (I would have liked to have seen him in prayer more often, however.) Being that Sean Bean is such a looker, I thought they would have the usual  "Thornbirds" Priestly Sexual Temptations. But, no. Fr. Michael seems to have a good grasp on his celibate vocation. "Broken" is also not "Nothing Sacred" (a short-lived American take on a priest having every kind of crisis imaginable simultaneously: existence, faith, Church teaching, etc.).

SPOILER: The fact that Fr. Michael was fondled by a priest-teacher when he was young haunts him, and he eventually confronts this hideous man (he's truly hideous) with so much intensity (but without laying a hand on him), that we are able to get a glimpse of what sexual abuse does to children. The even greater psychological abuse was from his own mother, and we see frequent flashbacks of this. We wonder how both of these harrowing realities of his young life affected his sense of his calling, but to the credit of the filmmakers, there seems to be a bit of a separation there--not just a fatalistic: he was driven to it by circumstances.

At other times, characters have strange, unemotional reactions to traumas that would simply break Americans. But I think what we're seeing is the Brit's "stiff upper lip" thing in all its glorious inaction. It never fails to startle me. :)

GRINNING AND BEARING IT

What's not so great about "Broken"? Sadly, Fr. Michael thinks that the reason there's no female priesthood is because men afraid of women's sexuality. Sigh. He also seems a bit cowed by "well, this is the way we do things now" (e.g., only offering Confession face to face)--regardless of options and how he thinks things should be done and him taking charge. Often, when Fr. Michael states Catholic teaching, it's clinical and without understanding it, owning it or embracing it, like some unfathomable dictate of the universe. There's a kind of guy's approach to it all (with maybe a touch of reverence, but maybe not): "These are the rules. Rules are good. They don't have to make sense." BUT, we know that :

 "God has given us the wisdom
 to understand fully the mystery
 the plan he was pleased to reveal in Christ." --Ephesians 1:8-9

Fr. Michael even admits to his clerical buddy that he thinks the Church's teaching on sex is a crock.

 IN BAD NEED OF THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

 Everyone in "Broken" is in need of a bracing and liberating dose of Theology of the Body.

The story regarding an older "gay" man who is rebuffed badly by a Catholic Trinidadian father (and told by said father to stay away from his two young sons who were taunting him) is a mixed bag. It's a complex story that involves a rigid understanding and uncharitable application of Catholic teaching (the Trinidadian), as well as excessive "hate crime" legislation. There is also a confusion of "homosexual orientation" with "homosexual acts." Arrrrgggghhhh. But there is a truly nuanced ongoing conversation in this episode about what it's like to experience life as "a gay man," to grow up "being gay," and to be bullied for it (this bullying does not necessarily even cease in adulthood).

No Church teaching on any issues is ever explained in "Broken." (But have you ever seen that in any secular TV/film story?) That's the rub. Even the adamant Trinidadian father, who is willing to go to prison for his beliefs, can't explain why certain sexual behavior is wrong (cleverly, the "gay" man in question is celibate).

In the end, I believe that the creators of "Broken" would really, really, really like to hear the Church's teachings intelligently, coherently and life-givingly explicated. Just once. Call me.

 
http://hellburns.blogspot.nl/

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2017, 02:20:44 AM »
Has Jimmy McGovern’s Broken redeemed religion for our times?

I am not a believer myself, but that shouldn’t preclude me from understanding why others are
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I recently discovered that the “Whit walks” I watched as a child were specific to the north of England, and to Manchester in particular. I thought every town in Christian England had one, but apparently the custom of marking Whitsuntide with processions of excited children done up in their Sunday best dates from the annual closing of the northern mills, and it’s in the north – mills or no mills – that the tradition is still honoured.

Whether it was because the walks gave mixed cultural signals, or my upbringing left me in ignorance of their significance, I don’t know, but they seemed part bridal, with the girls in their snowy dresses, part May queen festival and part brass band competition. Whatever they were about, they made me feel there was an England that would remain forever foreign to me. Jimmy McGovern’s Broken on the BBC has taught me that there’s a simpler way of understanding why girls like to wear white dresses, and that is that girls like to wear white dresses.

The scene, in an early episode, where the girls troop proudly into church in their confirmation frocks – one of them fitted with its own internal system of winking fairylights – was worth a dozen Baftas in itself. The category? Humanity.

But then, that goes for the entire series. Has McGovern redeemed religion for our times? The usual role a priest plays in dramas of social deprivation is that of pantomime villain: heartless, out of touch and like as not pederastic. But McGovern has been taking another look. Suddenly, as though a long-forgotten language has been revived, the sentence “God bless you” dispenses a benignity, not just on those to whom Sean Bean’s Father Michael Kerrigan, delivers it, but on the whole devastated community. God bless you, because no one else will. God bless you, because the very idea of blessedness is once again a necessity. God bless you, because – God knows – we’ve tried saying everything else.

The more familiar territory, including abuse, is still covered. This is no whitewash. Father Michael is himself unable to forget the damage done to him by the church, but the story doesn’t end there. Every time I’ve closed my eyes these last weeks, I’ve seen those girls, shy but proud, in their snow-white confirmation dresses. I am not a believer myself, but that shouldn’t preclude me from understanding why others are. If Broken showed us anything, it’s that judgments made from a position of enlightened superiority get us nowhere. It’s imagining the way life presses on people, not scorning the choices they make, that’s divine.
 
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/15/howard-jacobson-jimmy-mcgovern-broken-redeemed-religion

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2017, 07:47:48 AM »
Broken shows us what needs fixing around us whilst also being quality viewing
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  priest acts as the glue that holds a broken community together in present-day England.
 Father Michael Kerrigan (Sean Bean) is the parish priest for an urban community in the north of England. Week in, week out, he plays the role of confidant and counsellor to his parishioners alongside his mandatory church duties. However what he deals with on a day-to-day basis, alongside the trauma he has struggled with since being abused as an altar boy, leads him to question everything he has always believed in, and whether any of what surrounds him, including himself, can ever really be fixed.

Well, I’ve to be honest here and say that this was a show and a half. Broken is the show that this country needs right now because of what it covered. It highlighted so many of the things that are going wrong at the minute; shed a light on social issues that perhaps not everyone is aware of, or if they are, is not familiar with just how serious a problem they might be. What made this so great though was the fact that despite dealing with some very real issues, the show delivered plenty of laughs along the way. Not bad for a drama with Austerity Britain at the heart of it, eh?

I loved Sean Bean as Father Michael Kerrigan. He was so human and sincere with everything he tried to do, and it was so obvious that he struggled with a number of the church’s policies that are a bit outdated today. Bean really was tremendous in the role, and made me totally forget that I’d ever seen him as any villainous character in the past. He brought a sense of genuine compassion to Michael, and also a hefty amount of personal struggle, and I’m sure that this was helped massively by his own working class upbringing. Bean was also flanked by a number of familiar faces, including Anna Friel, Adrian Dunbar (Ted ‘Fella’ Hastings in Line Of Duty) and also Ray Donovan’s Paula Malcomson, which was nice to see, because it felt like there was a lot of celebrity backing for the social change that needs to take place before too many more people fall through the cracks.

 Broken was written by acclaimed writer Jimmy McGovern, who has brought us some excellent pieces of television on more than one occasion before, and who has also collaborated with Bean before this. Shows that I can recall include Accused and Common, and it’s clear that McGovern has a major talent in bringing us prime time viewing that centres around big contemporary issues, however he also has a knack for not making things too depressing all the time. He well and truly excelled himself here, covering a number of problems faced by the less fortunate in this country right now such as the faults with the welfare system and the lack of provision for mental healthcare on the NHS. McGovern offered so much food for thought with his latest project, and I for one am certainly looking forward to what he brings us next.

That’s it really, I don’t know what more I can add. Broken made a statement on mainstream British TV that was watched by millions at a time when a statement needed to be made. It is essentially a very simple drama done very well, with some very significant people behind it, believing in the message it delivers. I feel as though this review might have done the show a massive injustice, and I can only apologise for that. All I can say is if you haven’t seen Broken yet, whether you live in this country or not, watch it, because I believe it could very well be a reflection of what is going on in many places, and shows exactly why things need to change.
https://filmandtv101.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/broken-shows-us-what-needs-fixing-around-us-whilst-also-being-quality-viewing/

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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2017, 07:32:43 AM »
BBC’s #Broken: 5 things it revealed about Christianity and Faith
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I’m sure, like many others, you have been inspired by the Jimmy McGovern series Broken on BBC One over the last few weeks. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth trying to still catch up on the iPlayer or getting hold of the DVD which is out now.

Of course, having written a book about the portrayal of priests on the TV, I took a very close interest in this drama! It absolutely exceeded my expectations. In my book I spoke about how we shouldn’t expect too much of television programmes in terms of accurate portrayals of priests because TV is made to entertain and the quiet, faithful, work of ordinary Christians or priests isn’t necessarily interesting or entertaining. I now take that back!

I have done my best to avoid spoilers in this piece, so do read on.

Here are 5 things that I feel this remarkable drama revealed about Christianity, Priesthood and Faith:

The Nature of the Priesthood

I, along with many others, feel that this series truly captured much of the nature of what it is to be a priest. The self-doubt that comes with being a spiritual leader (Fr Michael, Sean Bean’s character, struggles throughout with feelings of inadequacy to the task) alongside the dilemma of wanting to switch off at the end of a long day just as another person calls on your time. The power of just giving people time and listening to their stories. The dogged persistence in offering pastoral care – sometimes when it’s not initially welcomed. The priest’s role as pointing to the presence of Christ all around us all the time – Fr Michael’s character repeatedly lighting a candle to tell people of this. All of these things are part of what it is to be a priest and there has never been a more nuanced or accurate portrayal of this on the television. Read more about this in this article by Cindy Kent.

The Power of the Eucharist

Every episode involves Fr Michael saying mass and as the series goes on the centrality of the mass/eucharist/holy communion only becomes more clear. The power of the body and blood of Christ offered in love for the whole world is evident throughout. This is true not only for Fr Michael himself, as we see that he struggles with his own sin each time he says mass but also for his congregation for whom many it is a lifeline. Read more about this in my article about Corpus Christi.

The radical nature of Christianity

when-someone-asks-you-what-would-jesus-do-remind-them-24587009Every priest and every church group struggles with the often wide chasm between the institutional church and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is also touched upon throughout the series. Fr Michael preaches about when righteous anger might be appropriate; he speaks his mind on women in ministry; he questions the spending of hundreds of pounds on confirmation dresses. The series also touches on the child abuse scandals to have hit the church. What shines through, rather wonderfully in my view, is that the teachings and example of Jesus are way more important that the institutional structures of the church. It was a relief to see this portrayed so well in the programme, and that it revealed how tangled and messy it all is.

 The value of the Church’s ministry

I recently tweeted about an increase in people training for the priesthood in the Church of England. Someone replied by saying ‘not relevant in the 21st century’. My reply could well have been ‘have you watched Broken?’ If there was any doubt that the church isn’t needed in the 21st century, this series, (perhaps unwittingly) proved otherwise! In an interview, the writer Jimmy McGovern spoke about how the church is needed at key moments of people’s lives such as birth and death. One of the characters in the drama walks into church because she can’t think of where else to go. Often, in my own ministry I am struck that the church offers things that are very difficult to find elsewhere – where do you go if you’ve done something you regret? Where do you go when you want to mark a big event in your life? Where do you go if you want to organise a funeral? Where do you go if you can’t feed your kids? The vast majority of Food Banks (which are also referred to in Broken) are run by Churches. I’m not saying that these things aren’t found in other religions or in some charitable organisations but if you took the church out of the picture altogether it is clear that society would be hugely impoverished. Broken was a great response to that person who told me that priests were irrelevant in the 21st Century. Jimmy McGovern in the same interview referred to the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and how the main character after doubting the value of his life is shown what the world would look like without him in it. This was one of McGovern’s inspiration for the character of Fr Michael.

The world and faith are not black and white

The series artfully explores a variety of complex moral dilemmas – should I tell the truth, even if it might harm my family? Are my motives pure or am I really doing this for my own benefit? Broken also challenges what ‘success’ looks like. Fr Michael’s congregation is tiny but his impact on the individuals with whom he works is huge. In a world, and, unfortunately sometimes, a church, that prizes numbers and ‘bums on seats’, this was refreshing and revealed that value is not necessarily found in flashy success. A friend of mine went to a course for small churches called ‘a satsuma is not a failed orange’ – this encapsulates something of what Broken showed about Fr Michael’s ‘success’ as a priest. Read more about this in an article by the Bishop of Jarrow.

I’m sure there are many more lessons to be gleaned from this series, it was beautifully filmed and written and went to depths rarely plumbed by television drama. I hope it wins all the awards going!

Here are some interesting clips to watch about the making of the show:
https://bryonytaylor.com/2017/07/10/bbcs-broken-5-things-it-revealed-about-christianity-and-faith/


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Re: "Broken" Reviews
« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2017, 09:28:33 AM »
Noteworthy Performances: Sean Bean in ‘Broken’
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I’ve been aware of Sean Bean for a long time. He does action adventure-y, fantasy type things (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Equilibrium, Troy, Patriot Games, etc.) The fact that so many of the characters he plays die and quite violently is something of a cultural phenomenon. There are hashtags out there to prove it.

I also know he was an object of affection in the Vicar of Dibley…

That’s why I was so impressed to see Bean  in Broken, the Jimmy McGovern-penned BBC drama about a Catholic priest in a Northern English parish trying to serve his soul weary, poverty-stricken flock while wrestling with his own demons. If you’re not familiar with McGovern, he is the king of working class despair and I admire his ability to depict humanity and compassion in even the most desperate circumstances.

Sean was exquisite as Father Michael Kerrigan. Michael is a good man. He’s selfless, empathetic, fun-loving and approachable. He also notices when people are hurting and yearns to help them.

His dedication to God is strong and his desire to emulate Jesus is obvious in the rebellious incitement of his parishioners to smash up the local betting machines that have ruined so many lives.

And he is honest to a fault. When his mentor and friend Father Flaherty (Adrian Dunbar) advises him not to reveal a hurtful but irrelevant fact at an inquest, Michael feels compelled to admit to a brief slight of his duties to set the record straight.

But he’s not perfect. Sometimes he’s unsure what to say to make things better or how to ease his parishioners’ burdens. And no one is harder on Michael than he is on himself. He has flashbacks of his misdeeds and poor judgement. He also struggles to forgive the serious offenses committed against him in his youth.

While I watched Bean’s  performance I didn’t think of Ned Stark or Boromir or Richard Sharpe. I felt I was witnessing the authentic heart-felt efforts of a man of faith – to care for his dying mother, to comfort a mother who has lost her son, to counsel a police officer trying to do the right thing and to guide a desperate woman to take responsibility for a profane act.

Most compelling were his conversations with Roz (Paula Malcolmson), a woman shamed by what her gambling addiction led her to do and resigned to committing suicide over it.  She challenged Michael to show her a light at the end of the tunnel and also to confront the darkest episodes of his own past.

//players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/ByveBcs0_default/index.html?videoId=5469929891001#t=13s

We travel with Sean’s character through a wealth of emotions from impotence and grief to empowerment and grace. The end of that final episode made all the misery and striving worth every emotional second. I sat there with tears streaming down as the people who Michael thought he had disappointed, let him know otherwise. I’m not a religious person, but I think I would feel completely comfortable confiding in Father Kerrigan. Sean Bean’s portrayal combined an essence of benevolence and social justice tempered with very human self-doubt. It gave me a glimmer of hope in a time when people judge with haste and hate too easily.

I watched this six part series on the video sharing site, Dailymotion. Not ideal, but I hope Broken will eventually come to a reputable US streaming service or perhaps even PBS. More people should be aware of this inspiring journey and Bean’s must-see (and perhaps BAFTA-worthy) performance.
 
https://britishtelly.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/noteworthy-performances-sean-bean-in-broken/