bluegrass

review broken circle breakdown

Watching two musicians performing onstage who are truly, deeply, madly in love is a rare and wonderful thing. At a concert I attended last spring, I witnessed a professional musician completely miss his entrance into a song because he was so transfixed in watching his partner sing. It was a surprisingly moving moment that transcended the supposedly calculated public-ness of stage performance – a room full of people witnessed a genuine encounter of real emotional intimacy. The Belgian import The Broken Circle Breakdown creates a moment like this early on in the form of a predictable yet tender on-stage kiss between the two leads in the initial chapters of their relationship. It’s a simple and brief moment, yet it’s integral for a film like this to work. Despite the risk of seeming cliché, we have to believe that this public moment shared onstage matches the intimacy we’ve witnessed thus far in the couple’s private life. And it does work, so well in fact that it almost supports the whole film. As the central couple endures a devastating rollercoaster of a relationship, knowledge of their chemistry and love is essential for the film’s melodrama to feel both warranted and affecting. Imbued with palpable sincerity by writer-director Felix Van Groeningen and performed convincingly by Johan Heldenbergh as banjo player Didier and Veerle Baetens as tattoo artist-turned-singer Elise, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a human drama of incredible intimacy whose episodic journey through life’s ups and downs is accompanied by some really outstanding […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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