Film review: The Broken Circle Breakdown

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Jared MacArthur, Contributor Ω

Image courtesy of Menuet Producties and Topkapi Films

Image courtesy of Menuet Producties and Topkapi Films

With a near-perfect combination of great music, brilliant cinematography and a deeply moving storyline, The Broken Circle Breakdown left chills on my arms and tears in my eyes.

Director Felix van Groeningen brings a powerfully written drama to life, following a couple through the heart wrenching experience of losing a child, with a parallel story showing us the beginning of the couple’s relationship.

Actor Johan Heldenbergh does a fabulous performance as the male lead Didier, a farmer and musician in love with American bluegrass music and the cowboy culture, who falls madly and passionately in love with the eccentric fun loving tattoo artist Elise.

When Elise finds out she’s pregnant, both of their lives are changed for the better and the movie really becomes uplifting in the flashback scenes.

Elise, played by Veerle Baetens, is a beautiful blonde, passionate religious realist that is enchanted by the music and mystery of Didier. She takes a dark turn near the end of the film as her reality is shaken with the loss of their seven-year-old daughter.

In one of the first scenes in the film, we are introduced to Maybelle, their daughter and the part of their lives that brought them full-circle.

Maybelle is really what makes this drama stand out from other love stories. This deeper love – a trinity of parents and child – brings the audience to the heights and depths of this young family’s journey.

Spanning over a seven-year period, they jump back and forth from a painful present, with Maybelle fighting cancer, to the past love that brought them together.

Some films can make flashbacks a confusing experience for the viewer, but that is not the case in this film. The flashbacks are seamless and really add to the emotion of the story. They tell the parallel story of their first meeting, to help us experience the trials of their current circumstance.

The bluegrass band The Broken Circle Breakdown is featured throughout this film and gives a brilliant performance, making each powerful scene come to life.

To add to entertainment value, both Didier and Elise had chillingly beautiful musical performances throughout the film.

The Broken Circle Breakdown was a movie I would recommend to anyone who is willing to experience the depths of a love tragedy, and is open to the full spectrum of emotions that this film will take you through.