Film Scouts Reviews

"Breaking the Waves"

by Lisa Nesselson

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May 19, 1996

A transcendent, uncompromising work of humor and emotion that puts a contemporary spin on the Danish classic of rational thought versus faith, "Ordet," "Breaking the Waves" is touching, funny and magnificent. Bess (Emily Watson) bucks local opinion to marry a seasoned oil-rigger, Jan. The bliss of their union is interrupted when Jan leaves their tiny community in Scotland to go back to work. When an accident leaves him paralyzed, he asks his young, adoring wife (who has a direct pipeline to God) to alleviate his suffering by taking a lover and sharing the details of their coupling with him. As unabashedly spiritual as it is perverse, the film leads to a place that any committed filmgoer will relish. Opinion is sharply divided on this one.

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