Four years into their relationship, New York City twentysomethings Daryl (Daryl Wein) and Zoe (Zoe Lister-Jones) love each other but are bored silly; the sex is rote, the daily routines irritating. Rather than break up bitterly, they agree to part ways slowly, by taking "days off" from their relationship before eventually beginning to see other people. At first, their plan seems daring, in a gimmicky way, but gradually, slowly, they really do begin to move apart, and, at different points, each starts to mourn the loss of the other. Reportedly drawing on their own romantic relationship, Wein and Lister-Jones have co-written a low-budget romantic comedy that's smart and lively and, in the end, quite affecting. Making his feature debut, Wein, who made the superb AIDS documentary Sex Positive, directs in a free and easy style that occasionally feels aimless, until one remembers that aimlessness is a crucial part of being young. Buoyed by character actors such as Peter Friedman, Julie White, and Andrea Martin, as well as the charismatic young star-to-be, Pablo Schreiber, Breaking Upwards is, in the end, all about the loving looks Daryl shoots Zoe, and she shoots back.
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