Mini-Review: The Broken Circle Breakdown

This year, as I did both last year and in 2012, I am engaging in something I like to call the Year-End Dash. Basically, its the scramble to get as many eligible titles viewed as possible before the end of the year for the forthcoming BAM Awards.

The Broken Circle Breakdown

The extemporaneous reactions to late viewing will be short, but they will be logged. So I thought it would also be a good idea to re-post in standalone form some of the more memorable films I’ve seen in the first few jaunts.

There has been the occasional resurgence of bluegrass music into popular culture via cinema over the past decade or so. Many of those instances, while they are films where I’ve heard the music, they are movies I did not happen to see.

Perhaps what’s most interesting here is that The Broken Circle Breakdown is a film that’s not even ostensibly about the music. The music is there, it plays a role, it functions as a part of the characters, it underscores the emotions of the story (usually counter-intuitively) but it’s only a musical quantitatively. The film is a fractured chronology of a couple’s relationship. It begins in a present where their six-year-old is battling cancer. The film then backtracks, and goes back and forth to tell the story of these two and where they head as new challenges face them.

The toe-tapping heart of the film is its pair portrayed by Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh. Through their earnest performances, and the music, you’re left on a tightrope walking through the end of this sad tail without spinning completely into despair yet completely absorbed within it.

9/10

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