Breaking and Entering

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Breaking and Entering Movie Poster Image
Insightful, contemporary love story for adults.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 120 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters pay a price for their bad behavior; parenting models are excellent; recent immigrants' difficulty in assimilating into a new culture is dramatized thoughtfully and with respect for differences; featured misbehaving teen must face the consequences for his criminal activity and learns a lesson; autistic girl is treated with dignity and understanding; interpersonal relationships between races are positive, with disdain shown for intolerance; one police role model is depicted as compassionate and caring, a second is authoritarian and cynical (though not brutal).


No overt violence. Teen boys are chased and captured by police.


Playful sexuality suggested between long-time live-in lovers; prostitute uses partial nudity (breasts) and sexual posing to provoke hero; suggested oral sex, foreplay, and partial nudity (breast) during several adulterous sexual scenes, including lovers in bath and in bed; a computer screen with dozens of small photographs of Will's and Amira's bodies flashes for approximately one second (Will's buttocks can be seen in at least one of the photos, nothing else is identifiable).


"F--k" is used a few times to show disgust or frustration. One reference to "penis."


Only prominent product display is Mac computers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that most kids probably won't be interested in this mature drama, which deals with complex issues and relationships. There's a central adulterous liaison and scenes with nudity, foreplay, and suggested sexual activity. Several scenes with a prostitute include partial nudity and strong sexuality. There's some swearing, drinking, and smoking, though none to excess.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGodsrain April 9, 2008

Not appropriate

This movie is not appropriate for people of any age.

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What's the story?

In BREAKING AND ENTERING, Will (Jude Law) and Liv (Robin Wright Penn) have been together for 10 years. Together, they're trying to raise Bea (Poppy Rogers), Liv's 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Bea's behavior, which may be the result of autism, increasingly strains their relationship. Will's work as an environmentally conscious architect and designer has brought him to King's Cross, a section of London which is home to an influx of Bosnian immigrants, both Christian and Muslim. The area is downtrodden; the community is struggling. Amira (Juliette Binoche) is worried about her 16-year-old son, Miro (Rafi Gavron), a fledgling gang member who's been breaking into Will's office to steal equipment. As Will makes a personal attempt to stop the robberies, he meets Amira, and they become romantically involved. The lives of both families are dramatically impacted when their affair is exposed and Miro's criminal activity is discovered.

Is it any good?

It's rare that an intimate film deals so beautifully with the delicate issues faced by the characters in Breaking and Entering. Anthony Minghella has written and directed an original story that examines elements of contemporary life that affect everyone: love, parenting a challenging child, the constantly shifting urban landscape, and moral versus immoral behavior. It should appeal to anyone who appreciates a good personal story painted on a canvas of larger world concerns.

Minghella has assembled fine actors who bring depth and intelligence to their roles. The characters are flawed but ultimately sympathetic, which makes spending two hours with them highly satisfying. The story is fresh, inventive, and relevant. The entire production has been mounted with care, attention to detail, and, most important, the desire to bring a positive message, a thoughtful world view, and compelling entertainment to mature viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this movie shows parents dealing with difficult children in positive ways and using community resources to get help. How much are these parents willing to sacrifice for their kids? What happens when one partner in a relationship is dishonest and betrays the other? How important is forgiveness? What other movies have you seen that focus on finding ways to preserve a family in crisis? Does the movie help viewers understand the problems faced by new members of a community? What is the filmmaker's attitude about rehabilitation versus punishment?

Movie details

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