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May 7, 2023

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When sensitive, artistic teen Winter gets a job at a coffee shop, she struggles to write her customers’ names correctly on their cups, so she creatively improvises and draws their portraits instead. If you don’t mind waiting 35 minutes for a latte, this would be a quirky and heartwarming tale of a teen overcoming her life’s mundane challenges — the perfect subject for a Lauren and Jennifer Havel film. We at BBS first encountered this daughter/mother duo when we reviewed SCREENED IN, the Havels’ feature length manifesto about how smartphones can literally put you and your family’s lives in danger. We found their work to be largely maudlin and hackneyed, but we couldn’t help but be compelled by their sheer ambition and technical ability to organize a huge production on a relatively small budget. NOT BROKEN picks up where SCREENED IN left off, striving to make the most wholesome film possible by slamming together weepy piano stock music, long digital shots of perfectly manicured suburban homes, and monologues about how disability is inspiring. NOT BROKEN references the famous “fearfully and wonderfully made” verse from Psalm 139 to make the inspiring point that we were all crafted intentionally by God. Likewise, this film was fearfully and wonderfully made by Lauren and Jennifer Havel, masters of emotional manipulation, using their ability to take the smallest moments of the average (upper class suburban) life and elevate them to high Christian camp.

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