Film Review: The Breaker Upperers

Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami’s comedy The Breaker Upperers is a sprightly and amiable affair. 

Jen and Mel provide something of an usual service. The pair help people break up with their partners, often in outlandish or inventive ways. Jen and Mel will engineer an affair or crash a wedding to help their clients get out of relationships…

Written and directed by and starring Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, The Breaker Upperers offers a great premise, and one that is ripe for laughs. The first third is brilliant; the film establishes the main characters swiftly, and there are a lot of laughs to be had. Inevitably some conflict had to be introduced. The filmmakers deal with this well. As the protagonists are well drawn and have great chemistry, viewers will care about their fates. The narrative develops well, it never feels forced. Pacing in the film is good. Sami and van Beek tell a story that is humorous and not without emotion with change from ninety minutes. 

The Breaker Upperers is a film about friendship, and the focus is firmly on the pair. They are three-dimensional characters; their authenticity is testament to good writing. Even the secondary characters are well drawn and amusing. Performances by van Beek and Somi are great. The pair obviously have a flair for comedy. Casting in the film is also great. Viewers get a feel for the other characters, even if they get little screen time. 

The Breaker Upperers has its own style. Music and costumes are important in the film, and often a cause for amusement. Not all of the jokes work, particularly in the second half. But the film is so amiable it is hard not to smile. 

The Breaker Upperers is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.

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