I cannot believe how horrible this movie is. And it is the final straw, I give up on this director.
Rape movie disguised as something else
I have a good bullshit detector and I immediately caught the gist of this movie came about. It is not trying to explore the complexities and the tragedy of living as a paraplegic and dealing with the bonds of marriage through that situation. No, clearly the movie is not a product of genuine interest on that situation. It is much more likely, and I am positive about it, that the movie developed from this stupid and evil idea of how to rape, humiliate and hurt women that are attached to you. Using love as a weapon, as a manipulation tool.
The purpose of the movie was to capture total control over a woman by a man. “Even when I am paraplegic, I will have power over her, using her love and attachment to me I will get her raped and gangbanged”. (It actually gets worse, since she literally gets raped to death).
Some guys are attracted to this kind of thing unfortunately, seeing women in pain. Even if a woman is into them and wants to have sex, they get off better fantasizing about the situation in which she did not. That is why there is so much porn that revolves around beautiful young girls having sex with either really gross and fat guys or really old guys. And it is the same idea that drives that porn about women getting paid for sex, not wanting to do it, but money being so powerful that they spread their legs. I think that as natural as that is, it is evil, and that those men are doing something wrong just even fantasizing about it. But that is a different story and we can discuss it some other time. But what it is clear for all of us cinema lovers is that using a movie as a vehicle to get off, to fantasize about raping women in this way, that does not make for good or actual cinema. Regardless of my moral judgement, clearly that does not make up for a good movie, it belongs in porn, it is not art. It is a way to get off, it is not trying to dive deep into the human spirit and communicate something of value. It is all just superficial and obvious.
Lars Von Trier Confessing
And the great thing is, and the reason why I am incredibly thankful that I am writing this in 2021, that Lars Von Trier has confessed. He is aware, obviously, that he did not make good movies, but it was all a disguise to make engage with his sick fantasies (and I really suspect to get off, definitely watching the movie, perhaps during the shooting).
In The House That Jack Built (that horrible movie, that I totally hated before I realized all of this, I watched it months ago and it is the worst), he basically confessed that, he added bits and scenes from all his movies near the end, to express how he made it just to please his sick fantasies, not to create art.
My History with him, Dogville, Melancholia
When I was in my teens I watched some minutes of nymphomaniac, but I did not finish it and I did not like it one bit. I watched it when I was trying to find the most polemic movies. I also found A Serbian Film at the time, which definitely is not a piece of art in any way whatsoever.
The thing is I forgot about it, and I in later years I really got into cinema and learned a lot. And recently, last summer I watched what I thought was my first contact with Lars Von Trier’s movies, Dogville. And I loved it, I truly thought it was one of the best movies I had ever seen, alongside Mulholland Drive, There Will Be Blood and Three Colors Blue.
Obviously my opinion has changed, especially after today, I consider it just mediocre now. But even at the time, I was puzzled because the best thing from the movie, undoubtedly, was Paul Bettany’s performance. Especially his voice and delivery, he did something unique there.
Plus the movie had great music, I was surprised to find one of my favorite pieces in the movie, Cum Dederit, which is not so famous. And the first half of the movie is great in many ways. I am very much into morality and I saw myself in Tom. And that really cool idea of “things that they did not need doing”, and how that turned into something important and very mathematical, devoided of feelings of compassion for the girl.
But the second part of the movie was horrible and I got a bit confused. Especially after digging up some extra information about the movie I discovered that Paul Bettany had a horrible time on set and hated the director. So I was not sure if I like Dogville because of Lars or because of him.
And after today I am sure it was Paul Bettany’s performance that made me think the movie was great.
I also watched Melancholia since I had some hope and trust in Lars Von Trier, and honestly, I cannot criticize that movie that much, even after this realization. But still, there is this one scene when Kristen Dunst’s character fucks a nobody out of nowhere, totally out of place. And I think again, that was a cheap move, that meant absolutely nothing, with the single purpose of humilliating women somehow and giving in to his horrible fantasies. Womens are whores basically.
Then I watched The House that Jack Built and it was unbelievably bad. And well as you can see today is the day that I totally give up on his movies. Breaking Waves is garbage disguised as art.
Intellecual people getting the movie wrong or lying about it?
Before watching the movie, since the house that jack built made me lose a lot of trust for Lars Von Trier, I checked what people had to say, careful of not being spoiled. And it seemed that so many people loved the movie and so many people felt a strong emotional connection to it. I think they are either dumb or lying.
It is obvious that Lars himself would lie and pretend he created art, of course he cannot confess this was about jerking off. But why would the public lie? I am not sure, I think many of them just got fooled by the mask, by its façade. With the rest, the smarter lot, I guess they are just rationalizing their own feelnigs and trying to justify the movie so they do not feel bad about it.
Real Art Can Touch the Same Subjects, But Differently
I got extremely surprised seeing that Ebert gave a positive review of this movie (https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/breaking-the-waves-1996), but he hated a real masterpiece Blue Velvet for the wrong reasons, but which are true for breaking waves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uehfL60EA4
I am not going to explain how and why Blue Velvet is a masterpiece and the fact that it deals with rape and abusing women and many dark themes did not make me shy away from it for a second. But it is obvious when you compare the two movies.
Similarly American Psycho is such a great movie that deals with explicit content, and still should not lose any points for it. There is a purpose for every scene, it is not cheap, it has a certain depth to it. And it is not a device for the director to get off. It truly explores the mindset of young successful men living in NYC in the 80s, and it does it through dark comedy. It is really good, and I could talk about it for hours, unlike Lars’ films.
Torture porn vs Real Cinema (The Passion of the Christ vs Requiem for a Dream)
These two movies are very useful to exemplify what I am talking about, both are about dark themes, but only of them is truly art, the other is just a piece of torture porn, like A Serbian Film and like that stupid movie that I can’t bother to look up its name that is about a woman getting stoned to death in the middle east.
Requiem for a Dream is frighteningly dark, it really does not shy away from exploring the deepest corners of the mind. But there is an artistic purpose to it, it conveys something, it is trying to communicate something true about the human spirit. While torture porn movies they do not, even if they pretend to as Lars Von Trier often does. They fail miserably with a closer examination, leaving people confused, but not like Christopher Nolan does, confused because you are seeing that it does not make sense and there is nothing more to it, it was façade to get off.
**Examples of right and wrong criticism of the movie
This is a reddit dicussion that happened 6 years ago, OP got it all wrong but there are three comments that represent the situation perfectly https://www.reddit.com/r/TrueFilm/comments/23cm26/breaking_the_waves_lars_von_trier_1996/
1) It’s been a while since I’ve watched it but I came away from the film with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I found it to be quite misogynistic, I felt it came across as quite hateful towards women given how the character Bess is treated throughout the film. She is weak in every aspect, summed up by the fact that her crowning glory is being fucked to death by a group of sailors.
This is the only guy that got it. Unfortunately he received no upvotes
2) I disagree. I think Bess is actually a very strong character. She has the strength to go against her community, to do what she believes is moral when she knows others will not understand, to suffer their judgment, and to essentially martyr herself because she believes it will save the person she loves. Her death is portrayed as tragic in the context of the story, but the end of the film vindicates her devotion.
This guy is one of those that I think are lying, there is no way, unless he has Down syndrome or something worse, that a person can watch the movie and say that the woman was a strong character. I do not think this is something a dumb person can say, this is dishonest.
3) However, much of the religious connotations confused me. Christianity was clearly a strong theme of the film, and I’m still left wondering exactly what the final scene with the church bells was expressing.
This is what the OP had to say at the end of his post. A clear example of someone who is not being dishonest, but just got fooled and confused by Lar’s façade to disguise this as art.
OP was confused about the Christian elements, because they simply do not make sense. The director was not trying to get any point across, it was an excuse to carry the movie. The bells meant absolutely nothing.
And the thing that infuriates me the most about the movie is that at the end the doctor is saying that she was not psychotic, but good, too good. It really offends me, and that is not something that happens often. It is despicable because it is fake morality. The woman in the movie is just a weak individual, the best way to describe her is not psychotic or good, well between those two definitely psychotic, good is the worst way to describe her. But the best way is “abused”, she was a victim of someone smarter than her manipulating her and hurting her.
The movie also glorifies lying, which is another wrong thing to do. And although many people are actually honestly confused about lying in real life. My guess is that here Lars knew it was wrong, I think he was just being dishonest and tried to portray lies. Literally lying to a damaged person who is dependent upon your well being, telling her that only if she has sex with strangers you will survive, and otherwise it is her fault and you will die.
White lies are wrong, and many people have proved it (Sam Harris’ book lying is great). But I think we can all agree that that type of lie is far from being a white lie. So that is why I say that this is a case of being dishonest and promoting a stupid and fake sense of morality just to be able to fantasize about raping women. This is not a case of someone actually confused. Lars knew what he was doing all along.
This actually saddened me because even though I was obviously aware that there were rapists and immoral people all around the world, I did not expect that it could slip through and disguised as art. I did not think it could fool critics and deep thinkers. I did not think that it would stand a chance in r/TrueFilm but it did.
It is also really sad that there are talented people out there like Lars Von Trier, willing to waste so much time and energy to produce something as boring as this.
Because unless you’re getting off or somehow giving into morbid feelings, torture porn movies are the most boring thing you can watch. Unless you are a 16 yo who is finally watching more “adult” movies, there is nothing there that will shock you, it will just bore you to tears.
Rape is not shocking or interesting, it is boring and a waste.
And I am usually portrayed as a misogynist myself, because I hate 3rd wave feminism and how they pretend men are all evil and women are just peaceful angels. That is clearly bullshit. But I mean it, I did not know that actual misogynist garbage like Lars Von Trier’s films could pass as art to so many intellectual people.
And rape jokes can be funny, those feminists are very wrong and it is very much a cult. But the people that cannot see that this movie is misogynist are also in a cult of some sorts, they are definitely being irrational to an unbelievable extent. I am more aware now of the reality that much more men than I thought are into these fantasies of harming women, and they are not ashamed of it, but the opposite, they try to rationalize it and pretend is all fine.
A woman that lets herself get raped to death is too good, that is the product of their incredible idiotic thinking