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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Breaking the Waves (1996)



Reviews and Comments

Breaking the Waves was a huge critical cinematic success. It's also very long and trying. It is an "art film." It therefore will appeal to art film fanatics, but I doubt there is much of a crossover audience.

I concede that much of this film is very well done. A phone call scene early on between the husband and wife, the main characters of the movie, does a remarkable job at portraying the complex emotions that make up their relationship. At that one moment, one can identify with the characters on an intensely personal level that few films can accomplish.

The problem is that that scene is the pinnacle of this film's achievement. The hundred minutes that follow the hour mark, dare I say it, bear the look but not the substance of a complex human drama. It's a valiant attempt at one, to be sure, but ultimately fails. By the end, the characters become hazy, and despite its attempts to say something meaningful, I couldn't help but ask myself, "What's the point?" That's generally a bad sign.