Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

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  • Summary: Set in a remote coastal village in northern Scotland, this is the extraordinary tale of a young woman's love and devotion to her husband, recently paralyzed in an oil rig accident.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. A movie about the passions of simple people, and it's done with such extraordinary empathy and commitment that it all but pulls you under. [29 November 1996, Friday, p.A]
  2. 100
    Not many movies like this get made, because not many filmmakers are so bold, angry and defiant.
  3. Reviewed by: Ali Catterall
    Mar 19, 2014
    100
    Philosophically complex, spiritual but anti-religious, harrowing yet hopeful.
  4. 88
    If not for a somewhat forced catharsis during the epilogue (the weakest segment of the movie), Breaking the Waves would have been more wrenching than it is.
  5. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    80
    This long, sometimes hard-to-watch movie is a challenge, but it has authority and raw power.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    70
    Whether or not Breaking the Waves succeeds as a profound work is something that's hard to say after one viewing, but it is certainly a wholly original piece of work.
  7. Although it contains many visually compelling passages and some provocative moments, the movie is strangely banal and simplistic.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. LauraG
    Sep 22, 2008
    10
    You just can't close your mouth once the movie has finished.
  2. antoñete
    Dec 29, 2006
    10
    Unforgettable masterpiece with a masterclass perfomance by Emily Watson as Bess McNeill.
  3. 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 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. Collapse
  4. 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 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. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews

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