Writers: Johan Heldenbergh, Mieke Dobbels, Carl Joos, Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Johan Heldenbergh, Veerle Baetens, Nell Cattrysse
Elise and Didier plays the role of a country music singing couple who fall in love at first sight. Their relationship is tested by the illness of their daughter and her subsequent death.
The story told straight forward would seem like a manipulative tearjerker. What makes the film special is the way it is edited with the timelines jumping all over the place. Film begins with a scene from the hospital with their child and soon cuts to the time where they meet for the first time and so on. The way they individually deal with their daughter's death is fundamentally in conflict, with him being an atheist and she being a realist theist. There is also an American theme running through the film with them living a life in farm cowboy style with country music as their passion. Footage of September 11, war on terrorism and Bush's veto of Stem Cell research are shown to highlight the fact that film is about the conflicts in dealing with sorrow from an atheist/theist stand point. Didier sees the veto on stem cell research, because of religious sentiments, as the cause for her daughter's death whilst Elise finds solace in religion with the belief that there is something after death. It doesn't help the situation when Didier keeps on confronting the issue from his on view-point and finally ends up with her attempting suicide.
The film has been nominated for academy awards under the foreign film category. I have so far seen three out of the five and rate them in the order: 'The Great Beauty', 'The Hunt' and 'The Broken Circle Breakdown'. It is not surprise that all the three films are far superior to the ten films that have been nominated for best picture.