Half Broken Things (DVD Review)23 Nov, 2008 By: Anne Sherber
Stars Penelope Wilton, Daniel Mays, Sinead Matthews.
Half Broken Things, a British made-for-television film, is a dark, atmospheric drama about the chemistry between three deluded and damaged souls as they sink past the point of redemption.
A quiet housesitter is hired to care for a country estate while the owners are abroad for months. The owners have been specific about the limits of her use of the house, and when she breaks an expensive teapot while dusting, she snaps. Soon she is rearranging furniture and ripping family photographs. She begins to believe the house is hers.
A grifter and a pregnant woman arrive at the estate with the intention of robbing it. But the woman goes into labor and gives birth. The trio immediately bonds over the baby, acting out the home life that none of them has ever had, a sort of group hallucination of family life.
This is a disturbing piece made even more disturbing by the uncanny performances of Wilton as the mother figure, determined to keep her “family” together, and Matthews as a young woman who cannot bear another loss.
Half Broken Things is an affecting small film that explores the darkest places in the human heart and the terrible consequences of longing. Viewers with an interest in films in which almost nothing is tied neatly together will be drawn to Half Broken Things.