Breaking the Waves Movie Review Summary

Actors: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Breaking the Waves

This difficult, even ostensibly blasphemous, 1996 film astonished some and infuriated others. Danish writer/director Lars von Trier (Zentropa, The Kingdom) concocted a story in which a simple-minded young woman in a repressed and deeply religious small town in northern Scotland falls in love with and marries a Scandinavian oil worker. Their new marriage is passionate and loving, but when he goes off to work for long weeks, she prays for his permanent return. A neck injury leaves him paralyzed and brings him home permanently, but now they cannot do anything together and she feels terribly guilt-ridden for having "caused" this. Confused, selfish, and desperate, he urges her to have sex with another man and tell him about it afterward; unwillingly, she takes on this mission as her cross to bear, laying herself out to the lusts of the men and the contempt and fear of the village, who come to regard her as a witch. Gradually she comes to believe she is doing God's bidding, and that pursuing her brazen sexual behavior will save her husband's life. The film highlights its artificiality, being divided into 9 "chapters" heralded by off-putting pop tunes from the early 1970s: Jethro Tull, Procol Harum, T Rex, Roxy Music, Elton John. But Emily Watson, in her 29-year-old film debut after years of stage work, acts the role of a woman who achieves a kind of purity of soul through utter physical degradation, with incredible conviction.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus

Script Analysis of Breaking the Waves

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1960's-1970's Romance/Love/Hugging    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!)    -   boatload of casual sex without love Polit/Social/Race/Gender activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   religious issues Taboo Sex Story?    -   Yes Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker/wife Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death Sex/nudity in movie?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   kissing    -   actual description of sex    -   seeing breasts    -   seeing nude female butt    -   seeing nude male butt Any profanity?    -   Some foul language

Movies with storylines, themes & endings like Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves Message Board (click here)
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian