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  1. Hollywood Reporter: Belgium has nominated Felix van Groeningen's romantic drama The Broken Circle Breakdown as its candidate for best foreign language film for the 2014 Oscars. The relationship drama is the story of two bluegrass music enthusiasts -- she a religious realist, he a romantic atheist -- whose faith, in God and each other, is put to the test when their daughter becomes terminally ill ... Commercially, it has been a sleeper success, grossing more than $5 million across the Benelux territories, France and Germany alone ... eFilmCritic: ... The screenplay tying all of this together is not perfect, although that one bit of telling instead off showing stands out compared to how expertly everything else we learn about Didier & Elise has been simply laid out indicates how great the rest is. A device that seems to fit a play better than a film (the rest of the band becoming a chorus and singing during solemn moments) is odd but mostly works. Mostly, Van Groeningen's script (with Carl Joos) and direction is a model of economy that doesn't sacrifice detail and impressive emotional balance: As much as the film will juxtapose younger Elise & Didier with the older versions to show how their experiences have changed them, the coiled timeline does a perfect job of showing how good and bad memories live side by side. The emergence of one of the more fair-minded conflicts between belief and atheism is also kind of remarkable - I don't think I've ever seen a film crush a non-believer's faith quite like this one does. The Playlist: ... The soundtrack has apparently been a bestseller in Belgium where the film has already had a very successful run, and it’s not hard to see why. The original bluegrass songs, composed by Bjorn Eriksson, are by turns haunting and jaunty, and again, Van Groeningen uses them to sometimes complementary and sometimes contrasting effect. But whether it’s a ballad of loss and sadness or a more honky-tonk tongue-in-cheek barnstomper, the two actors, whose singing voices are terrifically well suited to the material, find a harmony that adds further layers to our understanding of their relationship. Really, we fall in love with them a bit ...
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