The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Broken Circle Breakdown

Film Review

Film title
The Broken Circle Breakdown
Director
Felix Van Groeningen
Starring
Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg, Nils De Caster
Release date
18 Oct
Certificate
15

More info

Released by StudioCanal

The Broken Circle Breakdown

4/5 stars
Film review by Philip Concannon.
Published 14 October 2013

Breaking up a film's narrative chronology is always a risky endeavour. If not used judiciously and purposefully, such a tactic can appear to be nothing more than a gimmick, or a means to sweep storytelling deficiencies under the carpet. The Broken Circle Breakdown succeeds because director Felix Van Groeningen uses this approach to bring a sense of balance to the heart-wrenching story, and because his two leads, Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh, provide a tangible emotional honesty that helps to guide us through their shattered lives.

As a musician couple who've lose their young daughter to cancer, Baetens and Heldenburgh never strike a false note, even when the latter is asked to tackle some odd political rants that feel awkwardly shoehorned into the otherwise tight script. The bold editing and imaginative cinematography impresses throughout, but it's the soundtrack that proves to be The Broken Circle Breakdown's biggest asset, with the bluegrass songs performed by the cast beautifully underscoring the characters' fluctuating fortunes and augmenting the picture's thematic weight. [Philip Concannon]

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