The Broken Circle Breakdown

Synopsis: Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage - but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested. An intensely moving portrait of a relationship from beginning to end, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a romantic melodrama of the highest order.
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Production: Tribeca Film
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 24 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min

Ghent, June 2006

Round your arm.

Look at Mummy.

It'll feel a bit tight.

Keep still, sweetie.

Don't cry.

All done. All done.

Don't do that. It's all done now.

Right. The doctor will see you now.

And I'll stay with this little lady.

- Be good, eh?

Hello, little lady.

What's this?

- My rucksack.

No, it's a giant ladybird.

- It's a rucksack!

A giant ladybird!

Hello, doctor.

- Come in.

Can you watch on your own for a moment?

Mummy and Daddy are just popping out.

There's a good girl.

Can we agree on one thing?

We do our crying at home.

When we're in here we're positive, OK?


Come on.

Look at her.

She's fine.

- Yeah...

Isn't she?

We're going to shoot it dead tomorrow.

What are we going to do?

- Shoot the cancer dead.



Bump heads!

Go to sleep now, you silly sausage.

- That'll do.

7 years previously

Does all that belong to you?

- Yes.

Wow! Very nice!

- But it needs a lot of work done to it.


- So for now I sleep... there.

In that caravan?

You're a real cowboy after all!

- I do my best.

Is that horse yours too?

- Yes, that's Earl.


Is he bad-tempered?

- No, he's very sweet-natured.

J.D. Crowe and The New South.

Then the Tony Rice Unit.

Manzanita is definitely

my favourite CD ever.

He used to have a fantastic voice.

But he lost it.

It's such a shame.

I don't know how. Following an illness

or something. Or a bit too much whisky!

Why do you play the banjo?

I'm too stupid to play the guitar

and too dumb to play the mandolin.

No, no. I used to be a punk rocker

and a banjo sort of snarls,

which reminds me of punk rock.

I love it.

How come you've got so many tattoos?


Hi, cowboy.

Seeing as you don't want a tattoo...

Do you like it?


Good afternoon.

- Shhh, shhh.

Here we are with lunch.

She's just fallen asleep.

- The hospital has its set times.

Maybelle is ill!

- Sweetheart...


- Sweetheart...

You could say something too, Didier.

- Say what? Eh? What?



Hey, Maybelle.

Sorry, sweetie.

Mummy shouldn't shout like that, eh?



- It's alright.

Now we're going to do our best to sit

very still. You'll feel a little prick.

Well done.

OK, ready?

That hurt.

You knew, eh? Who gave it to me?

- Your mummy.

Before that it belonged to

my mummy's mummy.

And before that to

my mummy's mummy's mummy.

And now I'm giving it to you.

Because I'm your mummy.

And when you're grown up,

you can give it to your little girl.

But until then I want you to hold on

tightly to it when you feel sad,

or when you're scared

or when you feel lonely.

Then close your eyes

and think of something nice.

Shall we give it a try?

Dirt-poor fortune-hunters

from all over the world

were there on the Appalachians,

on that slate

that was bloody difficult to mine.

The Spaniard had a guitar,

the Italian a mandolin,

the Jew a violin

and the African a banjar,

from which the banjo is descended.

To combat the hunger and the misery,

they started singing songs

about their dreams of a promised land,

often about their fear of dying,

their hope for a better life

in the hereafter

and their sorrow, their hard life.



Elise, can you come and help me,


Where are you?



What's the matter?

Are you alright, sweetheart?

I'm pregnant.

Three months.


Maybe I don't want that.

How did that happen?

How come...?

I... I've never been regular.

What do you think?

That I knew?

That I've tricked you into this?

Maybe I don't want to make decisions

about someone else's life.

I didn't know.

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Johan Heldenbergh

Johan Heldenbergh (born 9 February 1967) is a Belgian actor, playwright, screenwriter, theatre director and film director. He gained international fame by starring in films, including A Day in a Life (2007), Moscow, Belgium (2008), The Misfortunates (2009) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) and The Zookeeper's Wife (2017). more…

All Johan Heldenbergh scripts | Johan Heldenbergh Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Broken Circle Breakdown" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 9 Jun 2023. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.