The Broken Circle Breakdown

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

The Broken Circle Breakdown

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) is Felix Van Groeningen‘s fourth feature film, written by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels and adapted from their own play. A box-office hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, it met with success abroad, including winning Istanbul’s Golden Tulip and is Belgium’s submission for the 2013 Academy Awards for best Foreign Language Film.


Felix Van Groeningen’s melodrama will have your toes tapping one minute and have your tears flowing the next. The film centers on a couple, a tattoo-parlour owner Elise (Veerle Baetens) and banjo player Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) torn apart when their 6 year old daughter Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse) develops a life-threatening illness. Through flashbacks, we see the early days of the couple’s relationship, when the pair spend half their time love-making and the other half obsessing over bluegrass music, with Elise becoming the lead singer in Didier’s band. Through flash-forwards, however, we see the disintegration of their relationship as they disagree about how to deal with the cards life has cruelly dealt the couple.

The Broken Circle Breakdown succeeds because director Felix Van Groeningen brings a sense of balance to the heart-wrenching story, and because his two leads, Baetens and Heldenbergh, provide a tangible emotional honesty that helps to guide us through their shattered lives. It’s not the best film of the year, nor is it my personal favorite, but in tackling love, the tragedy of losing a child, God, heaven and life after death in a manner I haven’t seen before, it’s certainly one of the must-see movies of 2013.

#thebrokencirclebreakdown-themovie, #filmswelike


Christophe Chanel

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