Breaking and Entering



Insightful, contemporary love story for adults.
  • Review Date: July 2, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

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.

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.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:February 8, 2007
DVD release date:May 8, 2007
Cast:Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn
Director:Anthony Minghella
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexuality and language.

This review of Breaking and Entering was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byGodsrain April 9, 2008

Not appropriate

This movie is not appropriate for people of any age.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide