Breaking Glass (1980)

Breaking Glass (1980)

”I don’t like the way life is for the majority of us — I don’t say I can change it, but I can sing about it.”

An anti-establishment punk singer (Hazel O’Connor) rises to fame and sells out.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Aspiring Stars
  • Musicals
  • Musicians
  • Punk Rock

Response to Peary’s Review:
Breaking Glass tells the familiar story of an idealistic artist who discovers, lo and behold, that fame and fortune come at a price. While the film’s screenplay doesn’t cover much new territory, it nonetheless serves as an effective vehicle for charismatic punk New Waver Hazel O’Connor, whose music is raw and seductive. Peary notes that this is a “sad, thematically bewildering” film, but I think that’s exactly the point: we’re supposed to mourn Hazel’s gradual loss of political and artistic autonomy, and to empathize with the angry confusion she feels by the end. The scene in which she defends herself during a radio interview is particularly poignant. Who ever said punk was upbeat?

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Hazel O’Connor as Kate
  • Phil Daniels as Kate’s manager
  • O’Connor’s increasingly bizarre outfits and make-up
  • An eclectic, often enjoyable soundtrack of New Wave punk

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look simply for its erstwhile status as a cult favorite.


One thought on “Breaking Glass (1980)

  1. Not a must.

    The assessment reveals why: “familiar story”; “the film’s screenplay doesn’t cover much new territory”. Since the territory is so worn, there would have to be some unique angle to make it worth seeking this out.

    Alas, that’s not to be found here – even in the music; it’s arresting-enough in a way, but all-too-predictable after the first few songs – a bit more variation is necessary for sitting up and taking particular notice. (Patti Smith managed it, after all.) As O’Connor’s fame grows, the film’s power falters.

    Director Brian Gibson does, for the most part, keep things moving along at a clip, the film is edited rather well, and the presentation of O’Connor’s final song is the most effective.

    [Executive produced by Dodi Fayed – Princess Diana’s bf. The next year, he served as EP for ‘Chariots of Fire’.]

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