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Author Topic: "Broken" Reviews  (Read 1028 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