cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Breaking the Waves

Starring Emily Watson
Written and Directed by Lars von Trier

Right up front I'll tell you that Cranky cannot be totally objective about Breaking the Waves. I'll just give you the straight ahead and we'll take it from there.

Lars von Triers' Breaking the Waves is divided into seven chapters and an epilogue, each detailing a chapter in the life of Bessie MacGregor (Emily Watson). As each chapter begins, a verse from a popular song by The Kinks, Rod Stewart, the Moody Blues, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen or another classic rock groups sets the scene.

Bessie has been raised in an isolated, clannish and God-fearing Scottish community. As a woman in her church, she is a second class citizen. She must ask permission of her Elders before she is allowed to marry an "outsider," a North Sea oil man named Jan (Stellan Skarsgard). Bessie has never had a man before her wedding day, and before the celebrations have ended, she has. What's more, she finds that she really, really likes it. So when her husband has to return to the oil rig, she is upset. She throws a tantrum -- for, as the film delicately puts it, Bessie is a little "stupid." At least, that's how the doctors who previously treated her put it.

In a visually fascinating schizo performance, Watson's Bessie drops to her knees in church and asks questions of God in a girlish voice. Then her voice drops a couple of octaves and "God" answers the questions. Not wanting to wait the ten days for her husband's return, Bessie asks God to bring him back "now." "Is that what you want?" replies God. "Yes, that is what I want."

Thanks to a horrific accident on the oil rig, that is exactly what she gets. Jan's drug addled, perverse demands on his wife fuel the remaining chapters of the film. Despite the best efforts of her mother and widowed sister-in-law to care for both Jan and Bessie, the latter spirals out of control into a sexual netherworld that would do Mary Magdalene proud.

By the time it is finished, you will question the nature of miracles, and the existence of God. Breaking the Waves wraps itself in religious allegory that is stunning and affecting.To all in the house, but Cranky.

For, you see, Cranky has lived this story. The horrific accident. The delusional woman. The medical miracle. All of it. While all attention is focused on Bessie, Cranky focused on Jan. Been there, done that, lived it all (except for the perverse manipulation of a wife). Which is why I cannot be totally objective about Breaking the Waves.

As it is, Oscar® nominated, Breaking the Waves gets the standard Oscar® race rating of . . .


The performances are all good. Von Trier's constant use of a hand held camera, shooting documentary style, annoyed the hell out of me. Watson's Academy Award® nomination is not unjustified.

Click to buy films starring Emily Watson
Click to buy films starring Stellan Skarsgard
Click to buy films by Lars von Trier

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.