The Broken Circle Breakdown review

A melodrama about love and life

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Felix Van Groeningen’s Ghent-set melodrama centres on a couple – tattoo-parlour owner Elise (Veerle Baetens) and banjo player Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) – torn apart when their daughter contracts cancer.

Co-written by Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, based on their own play, it will have you toe-tapping one minute and tear-wiping the next.

Van Groeningen blends the happiness and tragedy of life like a master alchemist, using music as an emotional life-raft, which is just as well: the bleak final third will test the hardiest of souls.

Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.