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1 review, 30 user ratings

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Breaking the Waves
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by Carina Hoskisson

"Insanely good performaces and stunning cinematography."
5 stars

A stunning, sometimes supernatural tale of a destructing and innocent love.

One of the best movies released in 1996, Breaking The Waves impacted me with every aspect of its filmmaking.
Emily Watson portrays Bess McNeill in a role that catapulted Emily to a Best Actress Nomination. Bess is a naive Scottish maid who falls in love with an Oilrig worker Jan, played to perfection by Stellan Skarsgard. Although Bess is repproved by her tight knit community for bringing an 'outsider' into their town, she marries him anyway. Bess is what might be termed 'simple' in Scotland. Although she's not stupid, she is as naive as possible. She falls completely for Jan, and is devistated when he must return to the Atlantic rigs. In Watson's performance, it was easy to see how Jan was Bess's entire world. An accident befalls Jan, crushing Bess's perfect new life. Then Jan asks of Bess a favor which stuns her.

Central to the story is the relationship Bess has with God, or rather, her perceived relationship. The childlike Bess has 'conversations' with God, where she plays not only her contrite self, but the fearsome God of her scottish Kirk. Like a child, she makes deals with God, promising actions for results. Her innocent and total devotion leads her down a path of one-sided co-dependancy where God 'punishes' her, leading to unexpected conclusions.

Set in a coastal town in Northern Scotland the cinematography emphasises the bleak landscape. Intercut with the sparse and harsh story of Bess are richly colored and strongly scored interludes. While her cinegraphic story is gritty and realistic, these intercuts showcase the glorious views of powerful landscapes, acting as both foils for the literal cinematography and the metaphorical glory of the setting.

Featuring supporting actor Katrin Cartlidge as Bess's sister-in-law Dido, who tries to keep Bess grounded, in a wonderful performace.

You have missed one of the best actresses around if you haven't seen Breaking The Waves.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=668&reviewer=44
originally posted: 09/24/98 00:38:12
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User Comments

12/05/07 xacto Still great. 5 stars
6/18/07 Lauren induced PTSD: The violent rape continues to play back in my mind even after ten years. 4 stars
5/20/07 fools♫gold THE queasy film of the 90's like "May" is THE queasy film of this decade. 5 stars
9/05/05 Indrid Cold Watson is great no doubt, but it gets awfully repetitive. 4 stars
8/16/04 AverageJoe Pretentious and misogynistic shite. For the self-deluded faux intellectual crowd 1 stars
6/24/04 Daveman One of the most deeply human films I have ever seen. Completely unpretentious. 5 stars
1/14/04 gökhan aylan masterpieces... 5 stars
9/26/03 Goofy Maxwell <warning> Not a surfer movie - Not 4 the faint of heart - Not to be missed! 5 stars
4/01/03 Mr. Do Crappy adolescent movie. 2 stars
2/06/03 natasha_theobald devastatingly watchable, resonates beyond the running time 5 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones A truly great film. Watson deserved an Oscar surely. 5 stars
1/06/03 judy bruce hedge is an idiot 5 stars
9/05/02 The Bomb 69 whoa, I cried!!! 5 stars
8/24/01 John Mueller Only "love story" that ever convinced me 5 stars
6/07/01 Derek Archer Refreshing movie. The "handheld camera" technique gets a bit tiresome after a while 4 stars
6/01/01 anji Initially hard to get into, but once you do it's worth it. An amazing film. 5 stars
12/21/00 Terrie Smith Hell of a performance from Emily Watson; a real downer but a powerful film. 5 stars
9/19/00 furleycat powerful, off the charts! 5 stars
8/20/00 yihong(yihong@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu) Best picture of 96, best peroformance of the 90s. Von Trier will have a hard time top ths. 5 stars
6/12/00 Phil A movie that rips your heart out. 5 stars
12/17/99 Lilja Walsh Complicated and powerful. 5 stars
2/19/99 Bruce Hedge Haven't walked out of many movies, but I couldn't stand this one!! 1 stars
12/29/98 Mike F I'm with rose. 1 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink It took me a while to shake off the impact of this movie. L. von Trier will never top this. 5 stars
11/22/98 little jerry Gives you that all too rare feeling these days ,of seeing an original vision. 5 stars
11/22/98 Steve Must see 5 stars
10/24/98 Vincent A challenging, brilliant, richly rewarding film with perhaps the best female perf/1990s 5 stars
9/23/98 Maegs Positively BRILLIANT. Raw performances, incredibly edited and photographed, tore me apart. 5 stars
9/01/98 spork-girl I actually hated this movie and I don't see what all the friggin hype is about. 2 stars
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  13-Nov-1996 (R)



Directed by
  Lars Von Trier

Written by
  Lars Von Trier

  Emily Watson
  Jean-Marc Barr
  Adrian Hawlins
  Jonathan Hackett

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