The dynamic of love has many layers and there are few binds that can either make or break the union. The Broken Circle Breakdown looks to highlight all these aspects using a bluegrass landscape to show how powerful or weak we as humans can be. The Broken Circle Breakdown is a film that will not only test the human spirit of your heart but captivate your musical soul.
The film follows the story of Elise (Veerle Baetens) a tattoo artist, Didier a bluegrass musician, and their daughter Maybelle (Johan Heldenbergh). Elise and Didier are both a part of a local bluegrass band The Broken Circle Breakdown whose music provides the perfect backdrop to the film. The director Felix Van Groeningen (The Misfortunates) makes the film a myriad of flashbacks as we see how the family comes to be coupled with the tragedy of the death of their only child. The film is spanned through seven years and at times can be hard to tell what period is taking place. The good thing is there are settle reminders and milestones that bring a fluidity to this movie that you don’t see too often.
The character of Elise not only shows a beautiful strong woman at the start of the film but she becomes a beaten down soul after the lost of her daughter. She is really the most dynamic of the characters in the movie as you aren’t sure of her love for Didier even though he gives more than enough reasons why.
Didier is a great musician with his own perceptions of the world and if religion is a virtue. He is an atheist and the moments where he is explaining his views on death to his daughter are very morbid. You can tell he has a love for the freedom and strength of Elise but as the world starts to crumble around him his views become more bleak and harmful.
There is a lot to enjoy about the The Broken Circle Breakdown and the subtitled dialogue shouldn’t persuade otherwise. There is way more to the film than what is being read on the screen but if you have a problem with foreign films at least the music is in english. Bluegrass is an aquired taste of music for most but the song compiled for this film hits spot on. One of the more memorable moments is a duet by Elise and Didier called “If I Needed You” that really personifies the entire film. Anytime there is a moment of dread in Broken and you can feel the tears starting to form the music takes you to a place of happiness and tranquility. I understand why the soundtrack is so prestigious as it really provides the best setting for the film.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is a mesmerizing journey of a couples love through music. The acting, screenplay, and cinematography are all A+ efforts. It shows the ups and downs with dealing with a major tragedy and sometimes no matter how strong the ties of love are some things cannot be overcomed. The Broken Circle Breakdown is an extraordinarily moving film that will give u a harsh reality of how cruel this world can be.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is in limited theaters now courtesy of Tribeca Films. It is directed by Felix Van Groeningen and stars Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh. The soundtrack is also now available.