Croatian-born Nina (Vujcic) escapes with her family to suburban Auckland, where her father Ivan (Serbedzija) continues to play cards like he did at home, drink with his friends from home, and sing nationalist songs. He also continues to nurture a smothering, possessive love for his two daughters, so when Nina falls deeply in love with a Maori chef, Eddie (Arahanga), Ivan is furious. Nina takes her only chance for a life of her own when offered a large sum of cash to convenience-marry a Chinese migrant who wishes to obtain residency. That is bad enough, but Ivan’s fury is truly unleashed when he discovers Nina is pregnant with Eddie’s child: he risks destroying his entire family to keep Nina from the man she loves.

Sometimes when you make love you make war.

Broken English is a Romeo and Juliet-like story, which is set in Auckland and involves the passionate relationship between Nina - Aleksandra Vujcic - a Croatian who lives with her family and who is dominated by her ultra-conservative father, and Eddie - Julian Arahanga - a Maori Chef. The lovers` nemesis is Ivan - Radeh Serbedzija, whose irrational violence can be terrifying and whose traditional beliefs, exacerbated by the experience of the Bosnian war, have been brought, undiluted, to this new land..... The three central performances are very powerful, but co-writer and director Gregor Nicholas, not content with his relatively straightforward story line, simplifies matters even more by romanticising the Maoris and demonising the Croats, who are depicted as oafish, beer-swilling thugs. The directorial overkill seems determined to shock the viewer, with unnecessarily graphic sexual encounters and strident emotional hysterics. Under the circumstances, it`s a credit to the actors that they perform as well as they do.