Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Watch On
  1. 75
    After being strapped down by a run of elegant, high-class literary adaptations--"The English Patient," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," and "Cold Mountain"--writer-director Anthony Minghella liberates himself in Breaking And Entering, his first wholly original screenplay since his piercing, minor-key debut feature "Truly, Madly, Deeply."
  2. One of the more intelligent, better-made new movies around right now, but, despite everything, it doesn't really connect with the nerves and heart. It's a romance without anguish, although the pain of love is really what it's all about.
  3. Despite very good performances and solid construction, it's a slightly too symmetrical, way too tendentious side-by-side comparison of two families -- Haves, meet the Have-nots -- who come into unlikely contact in the fitfully gentrifying area of Kings Cross.
  4. 70
    The movie has a gentle, bemused intelligence, the tone of British liberalism at its most open-minded.
  5. Juliette Binoche won an Oscar for her role in Anthony Minghella's adaptation of "The English Patient", but in many ways I prefer her soulful performance here: portraying a Bosnian Muslim working as a tailor in London, she's reason enough to see Minghella's overcontrived though absorbing 2006 feature based on his original script.
  6. It's nicely crafted, respectably acted and often quite compelling in a low-key way, but it doesn't have the kind of flair, impact or resonance we've come to expect from the director.
  7. 63
    The actors, especially Binoche, do their damnedest to bring urgency to their roles. But despite Minghella's admirable attempt to tackle major themes on an intimate scale, the film goes down like weak tea. There's no kick in it.
  8. 63
    The story is complex enough to be absorbing, but its pedantic quality makes it -- and its lessons -- all too easy to forget.
  9. There's a great deal of potential here, but like Will, Minghella loses his bearings whenever he wanders too far from home.
  10. Breaking and Entering is smart and smartly done, as it describes these inter-circling worlds - the well-to-do Brits and the newly deposited foreigners, trying to shake off their homeland tragedies and start anew.
  11. 63
    Breaking and Entering is a bourgeois movie full of bourgeois problems presented bourgeoisly.
  12. Minghella is a smart guy with splendid intentions but, ultimately, he's a victim here of his own liberal contrivances.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Entirely respectable in every way, it nonetheless has a very cool body temperature and thus likely will inspire polite admiration rather than excitement among viewers.
  14. 60
    Bold in scope and aptly mimicking the loose structures of kinship, friendship and work most city dwellers make do with these days, Breaking and Entering nonetheless plays out too quiet and too loose for its own good.
  15. 60
    For all its contrivances, Breaking and Entering has its finger on the pulse of contemporary London life and possesses its share of fleeting delights, chief among them the sublime Robin Wright Penn as Law's live-in girlfriend.
  16. However admirably Minghella urges a break from complacency and an entry into a state of local/global compassion, his characters are position holders rather than people.
  17. 58
    Strip off the superfluities, and it's a chamber play about people with nothing in common talking about what, at their core, they have in common. A film meant to remind us of our shared humanity mainly unites us in frustration with its thick, gummy progress.
  18. 50
    There's no shortage of candidates for the fatal flaw: the artificial storyline; the presence of a ridiculously cliched character; the lack of chemistry between illicit lovers. Blaming one of these problems is probably unfair. The movie's failure is likely based on a fusion of all these, and perhaps a few others.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss/Richard Schickel
    The film is handsomely mounted and well played (particularly by the always magical Binoche--such a wonderfully alert actress), but somehow it never draws one into its schemes.
  20. This is an ambitious midlife-crisis movie that valiantly weaves together big themes, among them the nagging guilt of the successful, wealthy artist.
  21. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    Forgive Minghella for taking a breather, even if Breaking and Entering exhales nothing but hot air.
  22. 50
    Though Binoche does very solid work, she can't sell the idea of her and Law as a couple; the chemistry isn't there. Not much else rings true in Minghella's screenplay, which is full of coincidences and speeches about race and class.
  23. 50
    Breaking and Entering is so bloodless that even Minghella's best ideas come off as wan and pale.
  24. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Breaking and Entering starts out powerfully, then falls apart by the time it reaches its too-neat conclusion.
  25. The story, like the protagonist, floats along in a noodly sort of way, intelligent, benign and ineffectual.
  26. 40
    What saves Breaking and Entering from foundering altogether in earnest self-regard is Mr. Minghella's evident affection for London, a city of inexhaustible architectural and human variety.
  27. Starts busily, and soon becomes a bafflement -- such an interesting cast, such technical excellence, so many intricate details and parallel plot threads, yet so little clarity or urgency.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Aug 28, 2014
    Another intelligent addition to Anthony Minghella's already impressive collection. Breaking and Entering is very subtle. That's a major partAnother intelligent addition to Anthony Minghella's already impressive collection. Breaking and Entering is very subtle. That's a major part of it's promise. Full Review »
  2. JoanM.
    Jan 3, 2009
    Excellent cast and story line.compelling viewing.thoughtful and emotional!i felt for all the characters and thoroughly absorbed,jude law Excellent cast and story line.compelling viewing.thoughtful and emotional!i felt for all the characters and thoroughly absorbed,jude law outstanding!! Full Review »
  3. CraigR.
    Jan 8, 2008
    Dull, slow and completely nonsensical with a cast that has as much chemistry as a wet paper bag. Completely forgettable.