"Insanely good performaces and stunning cinematography."
A stunning, sometimes supernatural tale of a destructing and innocent love.One of the best movies released in 1996, Breaking The Waves impacted me with every aspect of its filmmaking. Emily Watson portrays Bess McNeill in a role that catapulted Emily to a Best Actress Nomination. Bess is a naive Scottish maid who falls in love with an Oilrig worker Jan, played to perfection by Stellan Skarsgard. Although Bess is repproved by her tight knit community for bringing an 'outsider' into their town, she marries him anyway. Bess is what might be termed 'simple' in Scotland. Although she's not stupid, she is as naive as possible. She falls completely for Jan, and is devistated when he must return to the Atlantic rigs. In Watson's performance, it was easy to see how Jan was Bess's entire world. An accident befalls Jan, crushing Bess's perfect new life. Then Jan asks of Bess a favor which stuns her.
Central to the story is the relationship Bess has with God, or rather, her perceived relationship. The childlike Bess has 'conversations' with God, where she plays not only her contrite self, but the fearsome God of her scottish Kirk. Like a child, she makes deals with God, promising actions for results. Her innocent and total devotion leads her down a path of one-sided co-dependancy where God 'punishes' her, leading to unexpected conclusions.
Set in a coastal town in Northern Scotland the cinematography emphasises the bleak landscape. Intercut with the sparse and harsh story of Bess are richly colored and strongly scored interludes. While her cinegraphic story is gritty and realistic, these intercuts showcase the glorious views of powerful landscapes, acting as both foils for the literal cinematography and the metaphorical glory of the setting.
Featuring supporting actor Katrin Cartlidge as Bess's sister-in-law Dido, who tries to keep Bess grounded, in a wonderful performace.You have missed one of the best actresses around if you haven't seen Breaking The Waves.