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The Broken Circle Breakdown 2013

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He's a romantic atheist, she's a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial.

Starring:
Johan Heldenbergh, Veerle Baetens
Runtime:
1 hour, 51 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Spoiler alert - this Belgian film will take you on a rollercoater of emotions. In essence this is a love story. We are taken on a jig saw journey of a relationship - back and forth through the events of their lives.
The male lead, Johan Heldenbergh, is also co-author of the play the film is based upon. His co-star, Veerie Baetens, has recently been on BBC TV in "The White Queen". Both actors are simply superb in their roles, utterly convincing. The third "star" of the film is their 7 year old daughter, Nell Cattrysse, she gives an astonishing performance for one so young.
The film features plenty of Bluegrass music, and I'm pleased to find out that a CD has been released of the soundtrack, also available on Amazon. The band featured in the film, including the lead actors, is fantastic......they make a sound that Nashville would certainly be proud of.
The sub-titles are in-bedded and are never obtrusive.
The direction, by Felix Van Groeningen, is so incredibly intelligent. He allows the viewer to comprehend for themselves the emotions of the central characters.
Apparently the film has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language film in the 2014 Oscars - and it certainly deserves to win. In fact whether it is foreign language or not it is certainly Oscar material.
Definitely one of the best films of 2013!!!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this on the recommendation of the BBC and Observer Film Reviewer Mark Kermode on the basis that it was a love story built around some bluegrass songs. Given his liking for 'Mary Poppins', I was a bit wary! However, this is as far away from that as it is possible to get.

The bluegrass music is a cover for some really heartfelt swipes against organised religion, and the way in which people are brainwashed into clinging to it to get through life. The male lead Didier, played by the writer Johan Heldenbergh, is an atheist who refuses to sugar-coat the stark realities of life, even to his young daughter, refusing to tell her that the dead birds that smash into his 'terranda' have gone to heaven, insisting instead that the corpses are good only for the trash. Set against this admirable realism is the female lead Elise (played by Veerle Baetens), who cannot accept that their dead daughter has gone for good, and, in a fruitless bid to construct a new life for herself, changes her name, tries to erase Didier from her life, and clings to the belief her daughter is floating up in heaven somewhere. The outcome is inevitably tragic.

It is somewhat ironic that the most traditionally religious of American music forms is used as the backdrop to what is a thoroughly modern film that does not pull its punches when it comes to traditional religion. I don't think that Nashville would endorse its sentiments, particularly the rants against George Bush and his opposition to the funding of embryonic stem cell research!

Overall, a big thumbs-up to a courageous film not afraid to show its emotions.

Just one star off for a complete lack of extras.
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By elsie purdon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Didier plays and sings in a Bluegrass band, he meets the lovely Elise who owns her own Tattoo shop. She is also covered in colourful tattoos.
The two fall passionately in love and spend a lot of time at Didier's country ramshackle home. Both of them have a love of all things Americana and have a great time together. Elise begins to sing with the Band on their gigs. She is a powerful singer with a moving voice that creates a lot of atmosphere throughout the film.
Elise becomes pregnant and after a bumpy start they have a beautiful daughter, Maybelle.
The story is told in flashbacks, so we see the couple happy in love alternating with the sadness and tragic circumstances as their daughter becomes very ill.
The music is integral to the film. It signals changes and expresses deep emotions for the characters. Two songs stood out for me, "Wayfaring Stranger" and "If you needed me". Not surprisingly there is a CD released of this wonderful musical soundtrack.

This is a very sad film though never sentimental. It is brave, honest and very moving. I think if you have recently been bereaved of a child you may find it very intense.
Issues are being explored like Didier's love of America will be heavily challenged. How to talk to a child about death and the conflict of a religious belief and a non-religious outlook.
The film doesn't try to give answers, it makes you think and will stay with you for a while after. I found the film's depiction of grief very authentic.
Though I wanted a different outcome, the film leaves you to your own thoughts and beliefs.

There is a very strong cast I especially enjoyed the child actress Nell Cattrysee who played Maybelle I thought her performance was outstanding.
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is just minutes since I watched the finale of this beautiful film and experienced emotions I have never felt before and need to get this review written while it is all so fresh in my mind.

This is, undoubtedly, a tough watch but arguably, for me, one of the most brutally honest films I have ever seen; not only is it a master class in screen acting but raises many philosophical questions that in this new century we have still not properly addressed,

This is the love story between a bluegrass banjo player and a lady tattooist. Their love is a Big True honest thing and they are dealt some really nasty cards and have deal with the painful consequences.

This is a story of the healing power of music

This is a story that will stay with you for a very long time after the film has ended

This is a potentially grim tale of love and loss and grief and forgiveness and hope; a story that opens up the question of the possibility of life after death or rather the need to believe when it is time to let go it is not forever

The fractured structure of the film with its flashbacks and flash forwards does not detract from the storytelling if anything it strengthens it and also may induce the viewer to take a second look.It is impossible to remain unmoved by many of the scenes due to the brutal honesty of them. The final scene with its antithesis of the bluegrass musicians gathered around the bed is one I shall not forget in a long while.

So, although, not an easy watch this is certainly what film should be about and I disagree with many other reviewers that it lapses into preaching. I can only guess that they have never experienced grief first hand.

I can not recommend this film highly enough and I do beg you, dear reader, to do yourself a favour and watch this!!
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