The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)
  • Time: 111 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Felix Van Groeningen
  • Cast: Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse


‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ tells the love story between Elise and Didier. She has her own tattoo shop, he plays the banjo in a band. It is love at first sight, in spite of major differences. He talks, she listens. He is a dedicated atheist, although at the same time a naïve romantic. She has a cross tattooed in her neck, even though she has both feet firmly on the ground. Their happiness is complete after their little girl Maybelle is born. Unfortunately, Maybelle, at six years old, becomes seriously ill. Didier and Elise respond in very different ways. But Maybelle does not leave them any choice. Didier and Elise will have to fight for her together. Will you get through something like that if you are so different? Or will love let you down if you need it most? ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ is an intense melodrama, full of passion and music. About how love can conquer fate, and sometimes not.


  • “The Broken Circle Breakdown” is a great Belgian flick! It’s a beautiful movie about life, love, sadness and death and I was deep touched. The movie is also about exceptional people and good music, and the story is really original. A must see, excellent movie, altough I was not expecting it!

  • (Rating: 3,5 / 5) “Alabama Monroe” is a belgian film that loves America… or hates America, or does not knows. No matter, it promises a particular element: music. Not just any music, but Country. Not just any kind of Country: teenagers should not expect anything from Taylor Swift or Shania Twain, the adults should not expect anything from Toby Keith and Dwight Yoakam. Bluegrass instead, the pure core. And if the film is called “Alabama Monroe” referring to details of that genre, or even get the original name “The Broken Circle Breakdown” a tribute assuming the album “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, the average viewer thinks it will be a nice tribute to the music and country… but no. Instead, we have material that would be the envy of “The Red Band Society” Make no mistakes: this melodrama is not bad. The film never pressed the sentimentality and commits the courage to end a portion of the plot in the middle of the film, starting with a new pose in the next hour. Although the director plays with the assembly breaking the time (he presents disordered lots of the story ) is not chaotic and maintains a sense of linearity; and the actors are very good in their performance. After 45 minutes, “Alabama Monroe” overturns and becomes another experience. The first 45 minutes are a bit slower, because the script and the production repeated the entire formula of dozens of films about cancer patients. Nothing transcends it to a higher level, but the material may never leave this lack of originality. The main characters deliver some newsletters of their life (the passion for the country, the band), and temporarily minimize their world to promote the drama of their daughter’s illness, so we will not know until after the first time: Elise is a tattoo artist (although the synopsis makes clear) or how she met with Didier. After the slow first third, improves the film but never becomes great. It happens that “Alabama Monroe” not entirely leave the melodrama, so the overall result of this film does not transcends to a higher level. Despite this slowdown, some points that attempt to provide the substance of the story: while these parents are destroyed inside and can only pretend and fight, the mystery of God and religion is also tested as a comfort, and these connotations can reach the Bush administration (the film focuses on this age) by criticizing the president, and also to the evolution theory: the protagonist’s rant in the theater. But the Didier atheist discourse (maybe is valid in view of what is happening to his daughter) tends to fall in the hype because the magnification of the religion: belief in God does not mean you should ask for protection for your family to religion, the religion serves millions of people as relief to the belief that their life and that of others will not be transformed into nothingness when you / they die (as stated in the movie “The Invention of Lying”), ie the faith that there is a metaphysical beyond that to make sense of physical death, or the misery of the world. We do not enter into polemics, but atheism protagonist fails because his narcissism, which is understandable his angry but ultimately failed (stumble script) While the film is not very dynamic (even with very good Country song interludes, performed by the actors), we can at least recognize that in the end the director fulfills its purpose. In the conclusive minute, he allowed some creative flights (the appearance of a “ghost”, the frames in red), and definitely leaves Didier a seated position (Danger: Spoilers below). He may not believe in heaven, but he can place his hope in the person who does believe: tells his wife that if she meets Maybelle (his daughter), that greet his part. Then, the movie ends with music to celebrate a moment that other director had become tragedy Maybe “Alabama Monroe” is not a masterpiece, but it may interest the moderately satisfactory end. The rest is just ok, and the amount of music is not much. As happens with many artists (Jessica Simpson?), The country pouring here is nominal. As a curious aside, the star of the movie love this genre of music but does not believe in God and he criticizes Bush, when historically the “Country” states are conservatives (believe in religion and support conservative presidents, look what happened with the Dixie Chicks). Maybe the protagonist is not from U.S., as can be understood in a line of dialogue from the film. At the same time, this movie comes from Belgium: in line with many european countries, decreased interest in Christianity

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