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1,067 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 lives in a caravan in the Belgian countryside. Elise owns her own tattoo parlour. This film accompanies Elise and Didier on their rollercoaster ride through life.

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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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After a while, the temporal shuffling feels more programmatic than revelatory and increasingly false. Elise and Didier are appealing characters, at once vaguely exotic and reassuringly familiar, and it’s pleasurable… to watch them fall in love. Yet, by insistently shuffling between the past and the present, Mr. Groeningen… creates a suspect, indefensible logic that suggests that it’s because Elise and Didier were once so intensely happy that their grief is so extraordinary.
October 31, 2013
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