The Broken Circle Breakdown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Broken Circle Breakdown Reviews

Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
January 30, 2014
The movie swings like a pendulum between elation and despair, with little time devoted to anything in between.
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
January 24, 2014
Traditional bluegrass songs of loss and grief provide the inspiration and score for this innovative Belgian, Flemish-language musical drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
January 24, 2014
It's the music that really brings Broken Circle to life, an excellent collection of old-timey country classics and originals that reconnects the broken bits of the story and resonates with its deepest emotions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
January 24, 2014
Breakdown gets the music right and has the benefit of strong acting, but its unapologetically melodramatic plot has a tendency to throw everything at you but the kitchen sink.
Top Critic
David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
January 24, 2014
Invigorating musical elements and the lead actors' potent chemistry can't entirely protect this tragic relationship drama from its encroaching shortage of subtlety.
Top Critic
Boyd van Hoeij
Variety
January 24, 2014
Breakdown's less convincingly scripted second half sputters more often than it shines.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 5, 2013
The Broken Circle Breakdown manages to pull off a small miracle, using joyous music and tenderness to tell a tragic story that moves you but doesn't depress you
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 5, 2013
It's a tricky journey. What helps hold it together in addition to the music are the performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
November 21, 2013
It's the story of a young married couple undone by a family tragedy, but the film loses its way, at one point turning into a political harangue.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 21, 2013
This is terribly sad stuff, and "The Broken Circle Breakdown" unapologetically explores melodrama; these characters experience big, dramatic emotions, and the movie rides on those waves.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 21, 2013
The soundtrack is irresistible, the cast is enthralling and the passions are universal.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 15, 2013
The Broken Circle Breakdown deftly juggles some heavy-duty themes: not just the crisis of cancer, parents faced with the possible loss of a child, but the eternal questions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
November 14, 2013
Some moments of the movie might leave viewers feeling bereft or gut-punched, but the sublime sounds (along with the sweet and silly scenes of the pair falling in love) provide respites from the sorrow.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Keough
Boston Globe
November 14, 2013
Wastes its potential for honest emotion with schmaltz, cheap shots, and clichés.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
November 14, 2013
This movie about a Belgian bluegrass banjo-player and his family is filled with dazzling lyrical heights and deflating melodramatic lows.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
November 11, 2013
For any viewer who, for one reason or another, has been shamefully ignorant of Belgian bluegrass, here is your opportunity to make amends.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 7, 2013
When the band is onscreen, the film becomes alive, even as we know the misery the smiles are hiding and the pain that the harmonies seek to ease.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joyce Kulhawik
RogerEbert.com
November 1, 2013
It's a rich, raw, heartache of a film, a beautifully composed, soul-stirring drama about love, family, sex, sorrow, faith, and music.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Sara Stewart
New York Post
November 1, 2013
This Belgian drama is the real deal, an alternately wrenching and ecstatic viewing experience, adapted from a play by lead actor Johan Heldenbergh.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
October 31, 2013
After a while, the temporal shuffling feels more programmatic than revelatory and increasingly false.
Top Critic
Eric Kohn
indieWIRE
October 31, 2013
Forms an eloquent treaty on the spectrum of emotions that music has the power to convey.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Jordan Hoffman
New York Daily News
October 31, 2013
Tune up your banjos and break out the hankies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Kyle Ryan
AV Club
October 31, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
William Goss
Film.com
October 31, 2013
A superb tearjerker, juxtaposing the inherent passion and sorrow of romance to masterful effect in between beautiful bluegrass ballads.
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
October 29, 2013
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Jon Frosch
Village Voice
October 29, 2013
The Broken Circle Breakdown holds you even as it flies off the tracks.
Top Critic
Cath Clarke
Time Out
October 15, 2013
Heldenbergh and Baetens pull you in with committed performances -- their raw pain and grief is totally believable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5