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76

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

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 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.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. True art is a journey to somewhere you've never been, and there has never been a movie quite like Breaking the Waves.
  2. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    100
    One of the most emotionally devastating movies of the decade.
  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: Richard Corliss
    80
    In its pagan fervor, this is an almost religious experience.
  6. You won't come out of it indifferent, and even if it winds up enraging you (I could have done without most of the ending myself), it nonetheless commands attention.
  7. For this mortal, the film converts piety into pathology and then converts it back again at the end with a Song of Bernadette conclusion. I don't know what the title means. I do know that this ridiculous film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.[ Dec. 9, 1996]

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 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 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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