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Film Review: 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'

★★★★☆ Through the sultry twangs of a bluegrass slide-guitar, two lovers Elise (Veerle Baetens) and Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) strike up a relationship that will take them through passion, parenthood, grief and back again. Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen's The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) is a rousing and intensely emotional story about an unconventional love affair set to bluegrass against a debate about stem cell research. In fact, the film's only minor let-down may well be in its combination of raw emotional drama and a strong political message, a marriage which often feels forced to the point of soapbox screaming.

Some rather heavy-handed metaphors - including a shot of the Twin Towers crumbling to the ground as a key family moment plays out - occasionally dampens what is an otherwise handsome and devastating European drama. Based on the acclaimed stage play by Mieke Dobbels and Johan Heldenbergh, The Broken Circle Breakdown follows

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