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Breaking the Waves
DVD + Blu-ray
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When Bess, a naive young woman, marries Jan, a handsome oil-rig worker, she experience passion and physical pleasure that she never imagined. Their bliss is cut short when an explosion on the rig leaves Jan paralyzed. Believing he will never make love to Bess again, he tells her to take other lovers, convincing her that this will help his recovery. Bess is sent spiraling into a world of dark emotions she cannot understand.
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Emily Watson is charming/heartbreaking/naive/childlike/honest/painful and so very gifted in the role of Bess, the girl from the small cultish Scottish Presbyterian town who falls in love with and marries an outsider. Her descent into delusion is as stunning as it is wretched.
We watched it on a Saturday night on a whim, because Nic Sheff had mentioned watching it in rehab in his memoir, and we realised it was sitting on our Amazon watch list. The other alternative was Louie, so you can see we were ill-prepared for the weight of this film. Bizarre (but cool, somehow) musical interludes between chapters aside, this film is like slipping slowly off the face of a cliff. I cried (x3). I grabbed for my boyfriend and made him agree (x4) that this was one of the saddest and most disturbing films we had ever seen. I cried again. By the end I felt hollow and sure that the God that she prays to through the film could not exist (or is a total jerk).
I can highly recommend this film with the disclaimer that is is dark and deeply depressing, and there are a lot of bearded little old Presbyterian men who talk and dress like a Salem Witch Trial trope.