Breaking and Entering tries to be one of the bleak, the world stinks and so weíre going to have everything bad that can possibly happen happen to some lovely but terribly vulnerable innocent woman who suffers for our sins movies. You know, the kind of films that Lars Von Trier makes. However Breaking and Entering isnít a Lars Van Trier film. Itís by Anthony Minghella, the man who makes suffering and tragedy hopelessly romantic (as in The English Patient) and so this film never becomes quite as bleak as it wishes.
This is a good thing. The film saves itself. Juliet Binoche is the saintly suffering woman who escapes war torn Bosnia only to find herself alone and in an immigrant London ghetto which is turning her son into a criminal. Jude Law is the privileged man who finds her. However in this film he really does love her and in the end he does the right thing. He is also able to remarkably save his own relationship with a very distant and cold Robin Wright Penn.
Despite being quite too over the top in the tragedy department, Breaking and Entering manages to touch some very touching and honest beats. Maybe this has something to do with the cast who all handle their roles nurturingly, bringing truth to their characters instead of treating each part as an Oscar attempt and hamming up their bits.
Yes it is desperate to be tragic and yes it all works out just a little too nicely in the end, but the story telling along the way is quite satisfying and Minghella sucks us in effectively. Heís managed to tell a decent story in this somewhere. Breaking and Entering is a satisfying, if forgettable little story. Thank God, Van Trier didn't come up with this idea.