‘Broken Angel’ Review: Moving on From Abuse Is Just as Hard

Domestic abuse is one of the biggest issues in relationships in the modern era. What used to be just a normal part of relationships centuries and even decades ago, is now seen as completely unacceptable behavior. And yet, countless victims of abuse come forward every year, and many more remain silent, as the fear of their spouses freezes them in place. Broken Angel is a new film set working on this theme and shows the story of how moving on from abuse can be just as hard as suffering it.

Broken Angel is a film written and directed by Jules Koostachin and stars Sera-Lys McArthur, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Asivak Koostachin, David Lyle, Carlo Marks, and Jules Koostachin herself. The film tells the story of a young mother named Angel who is trapped in an abusive relationship with her partner, Earl. Angel and her daughter will try to escape from the abusive man and find a new place where they can start something new, but something more than the abusive man seems to be tracking their steps.

From the moment the film starts, Broken Angel, seems to be set on creating a different kind of film than the ones we are used to seeing involving domestic abuse topic. This is a very delicate subject, so it should be treated with respect, and that is certainly something the movie does very well. Our main character, Angel, is clearly trapped in a relationship with a man who says one thing but does another. The love she craves cannot come from someone like that, and yet she remains by his side.

One thing you hear very often when dealing with victims of domestic abuse is “Why she didn’t leave him before?” and some other variations of the same question. From the outside, it seems like the most logical and easy solution for a situation such as this. You don’t want to be near people who can only express their feelings through pain, you need to leave. However, for people suffering from abuse, it isn’t an easy choice. It is logical, sure, but the decision needs to overcome tons of obstacles before being executed.

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You see, some people remain in an abusive relationship because they are afraid that this is it; this is as good as it gets, and no one will like them better or treat them better than this other person. That is, of course, a lie, but our minds can play dirty tricks on us every time we let it. The movie makes good use of this aspect of an abusive situation and places it upon our main character. It is an aspect of abuse that can be hard to convey in a movie or book, but Broken Angel does the best it can.

The film story is, and the entire premise isn’t something new, but it is compelling enough that you end up getting invested in Angel, and her daughter Tanis. You want to see them do good and have a better life. However, while the story and the premise are strong enough to push through the entire runtime, there are other aspects of the movie that feel a bit undercooked. One of these aspects is the acting, which is quite weak at points. Sera-Lys McArthur can feel static at times, but it can be justified for what her character is going through.

However, other actors, like Asivak Koostachin, feel completely unconvincing in their roles. Thankfully, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart stands out as the best performer in the film, and she quickly becomes one of the highlights of the movie. Her character works as a catalyst for change, and you can feel that strength coming from the actress.

Visually, the film has a very standard look. You won’t be finding much in terms of amazing visuals here, but it does the job. However, one aspect of the movie that feels like it went over my head and felt more like it could have used a lot more development is the supernatural aspect. There are ghosts in Broken Angel, but their function and their reason to be here are left as a very confusing part of the movie. In the end, their inclusion feels a bit forced and doesn’t add anything to the story that the world of living has already given to it.

There is also the inclusion of another subplot involving the character of actor David Lyle that doesn’t really have a satisfying end and also comes off as a weird inclusion in the film. His story feels like it belongs to another movie. All the storylines come crashing into a climax that feels forced and rushed. The film had to choose an ending, but the one it chose doesn’t really ring true.

In the end, Broken Angel is a very solid effort that sadly is plagued by strange and unconvincing acting, subplots that don’t add anything to the core story, and standard visuals. However, the core of the story, which is the relationship between mother and daughter living in an abusive situation, feels correct and is the one aspect the movie should have placed its entire focus on.

SCORE: 6/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.