Good American bluegrass music, two tragic deaths and an anti-George W. Bush message…was there ever any doubt that The Broken Circle Breakdown would earn an Academy Award nomination?
Didier, the leader of a Belgian bluegrass band, and Elise, who runs a tattoo parlor and also sings, fall in love and have a daughter who contracts cancer and dies at the age of six. Not surprisingly, this puts a strain on their marriage. Because the story is told in non-linear fashion, the ugly scenes that follow are interspersed with scenes of love and passion. Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh (who also co-wrote the play upon which the movie is based) are nice to watch and, if you like bluegrass, the music is a pleasure. However I found the flashing around among different timeframes more jarring than illuminating and the life decisions made by the two protagonists unconvincing. Viewers who thrive on tragic love stories might feel differently.