So I saw Breaking The Waves like a month ago but then my life got really crazy (went to Italy, moved back to Canada) so I didn’t get a chance to write about it. The other reason is: this movie you guys….
I feel like I’d need to watch it again to talk about it rationally. People generally criticize it for being both ableist and misogynist, and they might be right but I was too busy feeling feelings for pretty much the whole thing to think rationally.
The actual plot is ridiculous on it’s face. Emily Watson plays an emotionally delicate woman who lives in an exaggeratedly religious Scottish town where they don’t even have churchbells, she marries an “outsider” who works on an oil rig and he introduces her to love and sex. She basically loves him too much and when he goes away, she prays that he gets back from the oil rig faster; so when he is paralyzed in an accident she blames herself and then when he asks her to have sex with other men - since he can’t any more - she does and he starts to get better so she thinks God wants her to, and she gets shunned by her community, and it winds up with her basically getting fucked to death by some sailors; but her husband lives and there are finally churchbells in heaven, basically?
But Von Trier’s direction and Emily Watson’s performance are so unflinching that you get carried along. There’s such an intensity to it. You can tell what she’s doing is stupid and dangerous (she can too, it seems) but you also completely sympathize with her decisions, which I love, and I think makes this go with art of women wanting too much, which is important.