THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MARCH 15, 2014

Coming out of Belgium and nominated at the 86th Annual Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Feature, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” is a passionate love story filled with young love and young loss that tears at the heartstrings and leaves you on the verge of emotionally drained by the time you walk out of the theater, a feeling that I love coming from the medium of film. Through disjointed and fragmented storytelling, the narrative of the film is scattered between the present and the past, as we join the couple, Elise and Didier (Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh), as they stay with their daughter in the hospital. She has cancer and despite all their worrying and arguing, there’s nothing they can do but watch and wait. As we wait, we are thrown back to how the couple met and the path they were lead down. Didier is in a bluegrass band and Elise is covered in tattoos, and the only thing more aggressive than their sex is the passion that they feel for one another. Living in a trailer while he puts off finishing his giant house when Elise becomes pregnant, Didier steps up and finishes it so they can start their family.

What transpires throughout the film is a chemistry between two people that begs the question of true love and fate, but with the death of their daughter knocking at their door, the true strength of the relationship is tested. The chopped up storytelling is key for the film, offering a roller coaster ride of emotion that leaves the viewer always wondering what part of the story will be told next. Dealing with extremes of love and loss, the film is so passionate and so heartbreaking, that the emotions resonate long after the film has ended. With amazing performances from both leads, especially Veerle Baetens, who lays it all on the table in this role, will be making a splash if she continues to act. Of the five nominated foreign language features, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” was a resounding favorite of mine and will not easily be forgotten.

RELEASE DATE
November 1, 2013

DIRECTOR
Felix Van Groeningen

WRITTEN BY
Johan Heldenbergh
Mieke Dobbels
Carl Joos
Felix van Groeningen

STUDIO
Tribeca Film

NOT RATED

DRAMA
MUSIC
ROMANCE

111 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ruben Impens

COMPOSER
Bjorn Eriksson

EDITOR
Nico Leunen

CAST
Johan Heldenbergh
Veerle Baetens
Nell Cattrysse
Geert Van Rampelberg
Nils De Caster
Jan Bijvoet

PRODUCED BY
Dirk Impens
Frans van Gestel
Laurette Schillings
Arnold Heslenfeld

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