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Ivan is the fierce patriarch of a family of Croatian refugees in Auckland. Nina is his daughter, ready to live on her own, despite his angry objections. Eddie is the Maori she takes as her lover. Nina works at a restaurant where Eddie cooks. For a price, she agrees to marry a Chinese, another restaurant employee, so that he (and his Chinese wife) can establish permanent residency. The money gives her the independence she needs to leave her parents' house and move in with Eddie. Complications arise when Eddie realizes the depth of her father's fury and the strength of Nina's family ties. Written by
"Broken English" is about a Croatian woman who lives with her old world parents in New Zealand and falls in love with a Maori man which, of course, causes problems while she acts as though she had no clue that would happen. Duh. Though it manages a modicum of entertainment, this film seems to know where it wants to go but has to pound square characters through round holes to make the plot work. In the process there are too many tongue clucking moments where the film's credibility is breached such as when a modern Maori man fights and chants like an ancient Maori warrior or a woman swims with dolphins which, as we learn, they only do with pregnant women...yeah, right. The characters in "Broken English" are in serious need of some conflict resolution...something which no one seeks as it would destroy the contrived drama. "Once Were Warriors" this film is not. However, it is an okay watch for those into Kiwi flicks with time on their hands. (C+)
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