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1,257 Ratings

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Directed by Felix Van Groeningen
Belgium, 2012
Drama, Romance, Music


Didier and Elise’s relationship is stormy and passionate; it’s love at first sight. Didier plays the banjo in a bluegrass band and Elise owns her own tattoo parlor. He’s a romantic atheist, she’s a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial.

Our take

Felix Van Groeningen’s heartfelt and often heartbreaking tearjerker is a rich, raw romantic drama, devastating in its emotional rendering of a family as they come together and fall apart. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Broken Circle Breakdown Directed by Felix Van Groeningen

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

2013 | 4 wins including: Label Europa Cinemas

Academy Awards

2014 | Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

César Awards

2014 | Winner: Best Foreign Film

Like Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing(1980), this jumps between the lovers’ courtship, struggle, and dissolution; instead of making the familiar story line feel unpredictable, however, this cut-up approach gives way to a different kind of pattern. The movie swings like a pendulum between elation and despair, with little time devoted to anything in between.
January 22, 2014
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Felix Van Groeningen’s film strikes some powerful emotional chords, even as its flashback/flash-forward formula wears thin. In one heart-warming scene, Didier’s shaggy bandmates serenade Maybelle. The honeyed musical performances are one of the film’s most appealing aspects… Touching if not always coherent, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a strange film but one worth watching.
November 12, 2013
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At 110 minutes, one of the most remarkable things about this film is that it manages to feel so rich and expansive. Part of the magic is in the editing, which segues back and forth in time, from high moments to low, in much the same way as Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010) – and achieves the same intensity of feeling by the juxtaposition.
September 26, 2013
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