Break

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Break Movie Poster Image
Young dancers face challenges; language, drinking.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It doesn't matter how many times you fall, as long as you keep getting up.

Positive Role Models

Lucie faces the challenge of dancing again after her fall. Max regrets abandoning his child even though he did so for what he thought was a good reason. Vincent is easily hurt, but does his best to overcome obstacles and help others. A man asks himself if a penniless man can be a good father. He decides the answer is no.

Violence

A dancer falls from several stories while performing an aerial dance. She wakes from a coma. A man sustains dance injuries that leave him a paraplegic. Two drunk men menace a woman on the street. Someone snaps back the dislocated shoulder of an injured dancer.

Sex

A male dancer coaches a woman. They are clearly attracted to each other and fall in love. They're seen with shirts off kissing, but no nudity is displayed.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "ass," "bitch," "bastard," "damn," "hell," "screw," "crap," and "horny."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. A pair of drunks light up a joint. Someone is arrested for selling drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Break features dynamic freestyle break-dancing performances as the backdrop to the emotional progress of two dancers from different worlds. After a bad fall, a young dancer discovers who her real father is and that leads her to other discoveries as well. Older teens ready for language ("f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "ass," "bitch," "bastard," "damn," "hell," "screw," "crap," and "horny") as well as some kissing scenes may recognize that the basic premise here has been used before in other movies. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, and one went to jail for selling drugs. The film is in French with English subtitles.

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What's the story?

Lucie (Sabrina Ouazani) and her boyfriend Julien (Maxime Pambet) love to dance suspended from supports high along a tall Parisian building in BREAK. During one aerial dance, Lucie's harness breaks, sending her into a coma. When she awakens, she realizes that Max (Hassam Ghancy), the biological father she never knew of, visited her in the hospital. Once she's well, she searches for him, leading her to his low-end hotel where he runs a rehabilitation program for ex-cons like himself. There she meets ex-con Vincent (Kevin Mischel), a talented break-dancing b-boy working his parole. She asks him to train her and Julien for a competition, then quickly breaks up with Julien to pursue the reluctant Vincent. The two learn from each other while Max works out his regrets and ultimately apologizes to Lucie for leaving.

Is it any good?

Break has a compelling cast going for it, but the performers can do little to rescue a script that's a retread of other dance and sports competition movies. Lucie trains hard, and tries new moves while an impatient coach barks at her failure to deliver, a tired scenario that could describe dozens of movies. As in other such fare, romance blooms unsurprisingly on the side. Only the French language and Paris setting might make this seem if not original at least somewhat exotic for an American audience.

Ouazani and Mischel are attractive and compelling together even if the story sometimes feels forced and overwrought. Will love conquer all? It's hard to say. Lucie's mother points out that she, too, failed to "save" the convict Max, just as Lucie is trying to do with the moody Vincent. On the dance side, for a movie focused on the power of freestyle movement, choreography feels repetitive and unoriginal, and surprisingly tame. With few exceptions, the dancers are male, competing in a testosterone-fueled frenzy, showing off stamina and endurance rather than artistry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how it would feel to learn that the man who raised you isn't your biological father. What do you think propels Lucie to search for her biological father?

  • What do you think about the choices Max made regarding fatherhood? Do you think he hurt Lucie, or helped her? Why?

  • Lucie enjoys an upper middle-class upbringing and privileges. Do you think she can create a future with someone from a world so different from hers? What are the things she shares in common with Vincent? What are their differences?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dance

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