Critic Reviews



Based on 29 critic reviews provided by
While Felix von Groeningen's film, which centers around a couple whose child is diagnosed with cancer, could easily have strayed into maudlin territory, the deft, non-chronological structure and the constantly surprising, beautiful performances -- both acting and the musical -- elevate it well clear of any Movie of the Week associations.
Once viewers adjust to the cognitive dissonance between intense Flemish dialogue and English performances of country and bluegrass songs,The Broken Circle Breakdown is a film that will likely stick with them long after the credits roll.
A tough, vital, electrifying film.
Village Voice
The Broken Circle Breakdown crashes as frequently as it soars, but the ache at its center feels real.
At its best, The Broken Circle Breakdown has the feel of life as it’s remembered—moments out of time tethered together by the feelings of those living them.
Sophisticated cutting brings out the story’s complex emotional undercurrents, though “Breakdown’s” less convincingly scripted second half sputters more often than it shines.
The non-linear structure works extremely well, making the drama a bracing emotional roller coaster of feel-good/feel-bad turns.
Time Out London
Heldenbergh and Baetens pull you in with committed performances ­– their raw pain and grief is totally believable. But all that honest, intense emotion is thrown away as the film outstays its welcome by 40 minutes or so, piling one tragedy on to another.
Time Out
Both Baetens and Heldenbergh do their best to sell the story’s ups and downs even when the narrative gets bogged down with science-versus-religion ranting, yet you’re still left with a movie a little too reliant on playing clawhammer on your heartstrings.
Slant Magazine
Felix Van Groeningen's film owes more than a debt to the unwieldy narrative schematics of Susanne Bier's narratives.

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