User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 45
  2. Negative: 5 out of 45
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  1. LauraG
    Sep 22, 2008
    10
    You just can't close your mouth once the movie has finished.
  2. PatC.
    Oct 14, 2005
    9
    This ambitous film goes exactly where it wants to, but the editing is a bit generous, always an indicator that a film may be taking itself too seriously. Some of the enabling characters take on stereotypical tones, and the entire plot hangs tenuously on a damning indictment of freighter captains. The shift at the end from actuality to religious allegory is a bit of a push. An obviously This ambitous film goes exactly where it wants to, but the editing is a bit generous, always an indicator that a film may be taking itself too seriously. Some of the enabling characters take on stereotypical tones, and the entire plot hangs tenuously on a damning indictment of freighter captains. The shift at the end from actuality to religious allegory is a bit of a push. An obviously flawed movie, but remaining brilliantly undiminished because of its realistic portrayal of community chaos from too much order imposed by and upon the dysfunctional. The film is startling in its splendid acting, eclectic musical interludes, surreal cinematography, and powerful character development. Definitely not a film for all tastes, but dead on for those who have found life to work that way. Expand
  3. antoñete
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    Unforgettable masterpiece with a masterclass perfomance by Emily Watson as Bess McNeill.
  4. BethC.
    Mar 2, 2003
    10
    Beautiful and compelling...I don't know why the new republic couldn't see the depth of this film. It begs the question "Is this a person with a mental illness? or just a wonderful woman?"
  5. DaveC.
    Oct 1, 2004
    10
    Breaking The Waves achieves a highly visceral emotional impact. It's a film that articulates universal human truths through its images of primitive human behaviour, our lead heroine's wrenching expressions of grief at the very though of losing her husband, the act of intercourse and what this woman is willing to go through to keep her husband with her. This is a film that forces Breaking The Waves achieves a highly visceral emotional impact. It's a film that articulates universal human truths through its images of primitive human behaviour, our lead heroine's wrenching expressions of grief at the very though of losing her husband, the act of intercourse and what this woman is willing to go through to keep her husband with her. This is a film that forces the viewer to deal with tragedy, to unflinchingly portray the lengths to which the vulnerable are sickeningly exploited. Few other films have shown such raw emotion, such verisimilitude. For this reason, I rate this film amongst the all time greats. Expand
  6. Elliott
    Oct 1, 2003
    10
    I have seen a lot of films in my lifetime, but very few have affected me the way that Breaking the Waves has. It is undoubtedly the best film of the 90's, definitely one of the very best films of all time. It is a powerful testament to the unlimited boundaries of love. Truly, truly remarkable.
  7. BrendanO.
    Oct 30, 2004
    10
    Bold and original.
  8. Giulia
    Feb 25, 2005
    9
    Long and sad. i like it.
  9. BrodyC
    Jun 12, 2005
    10
    This was an incredibly powerful movie that made me feel so uncomfortable in places. Emily Watson should have gotten the oscar that year because this is a brilliant performace. She carries the film from good to brilliant.
  10. JayH
    Aug 30, 2009
    7
    Emotionally, the film is devastating, and it is certainly not a cheery movie. The performances are rich and deep, Emily Watson is amazing. I was a bit disappointed in the ending however, but it is a very well crafted film.
  11. CharlesH.
    Oct 13, 2003
    9
    A both fascinating and moving film, both qualities that are rare enough alone these days. People interested in psychology should not miss this movie.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Apr 14, 2014
    90
    The simplified, handheld camerawork and the idea of “cutting for emotion” rather than continuity gets the most out of his actors, who are free to clash and improvise within a scene without worrying about hitting their marks.
  2. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Mar 19, 2014
    60
    As frustrating as it is rewarding.
  3. Reviewed by: Ali Catterall
    Mar 19, 2014
    100
    Philosophically complex, spiritual but anti-religious, harrowing yet hopeful.