Have you seen Broken?

I watched a movie today called Broken. I was just roaming Netflix trying to find a good movie to watch out of boredom. Anyway, I came across this movie and thought it sounded mildly interesting, but what really got me watching it was that it stars Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth, two actors I just adore. The movie is based on a novel, by the way, I’d never heard of it, either.

I won’t give away the plot, but I will say the main character, an 11 year old girl, is a Type 1. The description of the movie didn’t mention this, but when I started watching and the little girl checked her blood sugar I got all the more interested in the film. With the fairly small amount of depiction they show in the movie, I thought they did a pretty good job of depicting type 1. Frequent blood checking, correcting highs with insulin, the dangers of severe lows, not being able to join in on treats your friends are eating, etc.

Have you read any fictional novels or watched any movies that depict type 1 well? What are they?

Broken movie trailer


I’ve certainly seen enough of them that DON’T, right? Sounds like this may be that rare exception–I’ll have to check it out, thanks!

I haven’t seen the movie, but the summary on Wikipedia says, in part, “Skunk, deprived of her medical supply, falls into a hypoglycemic coma.”

I suppose it could just be a typo/misunderstanding by whomever wrote the summary. But, unless one considers glucose tablets “medical supplies”, one obviously does not go hypo from being deprived of your medical paraphernalia. :smirk:

Yes, I saw that too. Could be a typo, but it does conform to the Hollywood Rule of Diabetes (a.k.a., “That guy’s gonna need a shot!”), which in turn derives from The Two Things Everybody Knows About (T1) Diabetes: a) they need a shot! and b) they can pass out at any time! From which we derive c) “That guy (or girl) is gonna pass out unless he gets a shot!”, or the common portrayal of a T1 being given insulin for what is implicitly or explicitly a hypoglycemic episode. Still, it sounds like they got some of the other stuff right, so that’s some consolation.

In this context I recently revisited the climactic “That kid needs a shot!” scene in Panic Room, and it is clear, in the film’s favor, that “the shot!” that the mom (played by Jody Foster) is scrambling to get to her hypo-threatened kid is an emergency glucagon injector, so that’s pretty good. There are some other questionable bits–the kid’s hypo state appears to have occurred from eating too many carbs (pizza and soda IIRC) not too little, but I suppose you could assume she over-bolused or something; it’s not really quite clear what regime she’s on. There’s also that BG-monitor watch gimmick, which is how the filmmakers get across that there’s some kind of time-bomb ticking along while keeping (most of) the audience suspensefully in the dark as to what it actually means. I gather that there actually was such a thing on the market in the 90s though it wasn’t successful, so I think we can allow them some creative license there. Plus it has Forest Whitaker in it, so there’s that. Likewise Tim Roth in Broken, so probably worth watching even if the T1 details are kinda shaky at the end.

In the movie she has a severe hypo. The movie does not word anything or show what lead to it, the hypo is simply shown through action, so a diabetic would absolutely know what caused it without that cause actually being shown or spoken about, and persons who are not knowledgeable about diabetes will definitely get the point that something very bad is happening. I’m sure that summary was probably written by someone who knows nothing about diabetes.

The movie does not depict diabetes in an ideal manner, but it was certainly the most accurate description I’ve ever seen on film. There was only one issue I took with it and that was when they showed meal times. I would never drink OJ, or eat toast, jam, etc. unless I was low. But then again, diabetics eat what they know their body and insulin dose can handle.

Well I have not seen the movie, but will suggest that movies are not ever going to get “real life” right, they are movies! They are made to dramatize every thing that happens. I don’t brush my teeth or chop my stew veggies or drive my car in reverse the way actors do just so ya know. I do enjoy toast and jam for breakfast sometimes only I like them at dinner - haha. By the way, I’ve had plenty of hypos over the years that have no rhyme or reason behind them.

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Sounds like an interesting portrayal in any case, and the acting drew a lot of praise (I’m a big Tim Roth fan ever since Reservoir Dogs). Definitely looks worth watching. I’ll look for it on Netflix–thanks for the tip!

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I read “One Second After” very shortly before my diagnosis. A very good book… A much better book before you have t1 diabetes than after.

Agree to the nth!! How about there is another one on the way One Year After by William R. Forstchen. All of this author’s work are excellent.

As a side note I have found that books are always better than the movies that follow them. I am not surprised that One Second After has not made it to the studio, they’d never be able to do it justice :slight_smile:

Haven’t read it, but being that it’s set in a post-apocalyptic, post-EMT world I’m guessing T1s don’t end up faring too well. Is that dealt with explicitly? Kind of a standard thing in post-ap novels to have T1s dying off as a way of illustrating how bad things are. It’s featured in one of the all-time classics of the genre, the post-WWIII novel “Alas, Babylon” (1959). In that one the insulin-dependent lady dies off like a week after the event, which I thought was a little unfair. Even the R & NPH insulins I was on back when I first read it could stand to be at room temperature longer than that. And then recently reading about the couple who figured out how to make their own insulin during WWII makes it seem like a determined T1 might be able to manage better than they do in these novels. But I guess we’re in there to get killed off and make a point.

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The daughter of the main character is T1-- he has the sense to stock up on insulin right away while he still can but then as society unravels he becomes a natural leader and devotes more and more of the resources at his disposal to trying to find more insulin for his daughter-- ultimate he is unsuccessful.

I was going to mention this one, too. As depressing as it is, it is a very realistic portrayal of Type 1 diabetes. I also like that, if I remember correctly, the daughter survives for months (rather than days or weeks), and they let her BG run extremely high and give her only enough insulin needed to survive near the end, to prolongue the insulin as long as possible, before finally running out completely.

The mother and daughter had moved into their new house that day. They probably did much more physical labor than was usual. A hypo in this scenario makes total sense to me. It’s easy to underestimate how much work you’ve actually done.

So I just watched Broken on Netflix/Roku, and I have to say the Wikipedia entry gives entirely the wrong impression. She goes into hypo induced unconsciousness and convulsions and there’s no indication as to what brought it on, but then who does know what causes 'em half the time, especially with a kid, and there isn’t the usual blunder of someone rushing to make sure she gets a shot. So “Skunk, deprived of her medical supply, falls into a hypoglycemic coma” isn’t at all accurate to what happens in the film–surprise! Wikipedia not 100% reliable! It has nothing to do with her not having her “medical supply.” Her dad does tell the cops she’s “type one diabetic” (yay terminology) and “needs to be monitored or she could die” but, again, that’s not inaccurate and certainly something I’d say if I was a parent of a missing T1 with cops saying “no big deal, kids, who knows…”

In short, @Tamra11 is right, they handle it quite well. There are a couple of “holes” that weren’t filled in from a purely T1 standpoint but it’s not a “very special” movie about what it’s like to be a T1; it’s a coming-of-age story in which T1 is just a single element among many, so I think they’re entirely justified in not going into every jot and tittle about how this stuff works. As far as what they do show goes, they stay within the lines.

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Daniel Clay is the writer of the book (same name) as this film is based. According to IMBD, it is the only project Mr. Clay is or has worked on. It is a BBC film set in England and here is the part of the story I love, Mr. Craig started the book as an update of the classic story told in to Kill a Mockingbird. The Movie, as the book has the young girl as a type 1 diabetic.

Of course, this is no ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ nothing is. The book and the film received wonderful reviews. No, I have not seen it, I will now. It was released in 2013, filmed in 2012 and the book was released in 2008. Apparently the book deals more in depth with diabetes as a storytelling device.


Yup, no disagreement on that score, especially if she was (notionally) on R/NPH as a lot of us still were as late as 2002 when the film was released. Been a while since I’ve seen the flick and I’d forgotten that part. What I do remember is the movie is quite coy about what it is that is going on with the kid–they show the wristwatch BG monitor without explaining what it is–but that’s a pretty standard kind of suspense-building technique. I wasn’t familiar with the device; even at the time it was hardly a standard piece of gear, so I remember guessing at it and thinking it was something the filmmakers had totally made up in service of the plot. I only found out much later that it was a real thing, though I gather it never worked well enough to catch on. I think one of our TUD members actually tried it back in the day.

The Glucowatch came out after the movie, I’m pretty sure. I was in a trial for it; I wore six of them on my arms for three days. I looked like a terrorist. I was offered $300 or a Glucowatch for participating; I took the Glucowatch, and then had to buy the sensor pads. It never worked very well; I’m not sure how they satisfied the FDA. It also burned my skin. I’ve probably still got it around here somewhere.


Wow, I think you’re the first person I have encountered who actually had and used a glucowatch! :smiley: