14th Sep2021

‘Broken Diamonds’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Ben Platt, Lola Kirke, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lynda Boyd | Written by Steve Waverly | Directed by Peter Sattler

I know Ben Platt predominantly from his major role in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen and his comedy role in Pitch Perfect, but he’s a good actor with a bright future at his feet, and small independent drama Broken Diamonds appealed to me. With Platt playing Scott, a twenty-something writer who plans to move to Paris to focus on his writing, he encounters a hurdle in the form of his father passing away and his sister, Cindy, who struggles from mental illness, being temporarily injected into his life on a wider level.

It’s a really well acted film and director Peter Sattler (Camp X-Ray) does a wonderful job at keeping the camera on the emotions of his actors, a fly on the wall to the proceedings. It’s a nicely written movie, also, with Steve Waverly (One Night) doing a top notch job at making these characters feel like full human beings with past, presents and futures, with history, with relationships. It’s this that really pushed Broken Diamonds up a level. It feels like a lived-in existence as we witness life through the eyes and body of Scott. Platt, with his words, his terrific facial expressions and his everyman likability, makes the whole movie very easy to enjoy, and he’s a character that, flaws and all, is one we can root for.

It isn’t just Platt’s Scott , though, but also Cindy, played by Lola Kirke (Mistress America, Gone Girl), who we care about more and more as the film goes on. Her performance is rich with emotion and depth, and I thought the chemistry between Platt and Kirke, as brother and sister, was wonderful. The way the reconnect and begin to understand one another is really pretty lovely. The cast are generally great, with other names like Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) and Lynda Boyd (Virgin River), keeping things interesting and adding some quality.

Broken Diamonds is really a film about family, about loss and change and about how the past can still deeply effect us. These two characters, both with their own issues, their own problems, are as flawed and unsure as we all are at times, and it makes them relatable and full, something that can often be forgotten in 90 minute movies. The breezy folk soundtrack only adds to the tone of everything. It’s a heartfelt story and hard not to be moved by Kirke’s character and the relationship between the siblings.

A film that will likely go under the radar for many, Broken Diamonds is a terrific one, a genuine and heartfelt portrayal of mental illness, a calm and tender look at the intricacies of people. Seek it out, especially if you’re a fan of independent film in the form of low-key dramedy. This is a really good one.

**** 4/5

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