THE WEEK IN REVIEW

THE FILM Breaking the Waves overview

Emily Watson stars as a saint-like Scots girl whose marriage brings a kind of martyrdom in Lars von Trier's emotional tale of doubt, faith, love and redemption. The Cannes Grand Jury prizewinner.

critical view

Adam Mars-Jones hailed "an astonishing film, so well thought-out and passionately executed". "A melodrama of astonishing power ... holds you, sometimes painfully, in its grip for every one of 158 minutes," cried the Times. "A fearless performance and a devastating film," trumpeted Premiere. "A test for the stomach as well as the eyes," sniffed the Standard. "Overwhelming ... a remarkable achievement," applauded Time Out.

on view

Lumiere, London WC2 (0171-370 3014) and at selected screens across London. our view Intensely naturalistic performances, stylised camera work, a flood of emotion.

THE PLAY Art

overview

Matthew Warchus directs Tom Courtenay, Albert Finney and Ken Stott in Christopher Hampton's translation of Yasmina Reza's smash hit comedy about friendship, betrayal and modern art.

critical view

Impressed but wary, Paul Taylor enjoyed "meringue masquerading as piquantly sauced meat". "A remarkably wise, witty and elegant comedy," cooed the Times. "An endless stream of enjoyably philistine jokes ... Cracking entertainment," grinned the Telegraph. "Invigorating, disturbing and finally touching," praised the FT. "Superbly acted and directed ... for all its manifest cleverness, panders to popular prejudice," sniffed the Guardian.

on view

Booking fast at Wyndham's Theatre, London WC2 (0171-369 1736) our view An elegant, intelligent comedy allowing audiences to indulge their philistinism.

THE OPERA The Ring overview

Richard Jones's revised Royal Opera production of Wagner's complete Ring cycle, designed by Nigel Lowery, conducted by Bernard Haitink with casts including Siegfried Jerusalem and John Tomlinson.

critical view

Disagreeing with the Independent's earlier assessment, Robin Holloway couldn't reconcile the "incongruities between the seen and the heard". "Much, much better," approved the FT. "Seeks to express the human significance of the Ring ... compelling," judged the Guardian. "Haitink is one of the great Wagnerians ... a Ring for and of today, thoughtful, comfortless, 'critical' in the very best sense," cheered the Times.

on view

Tonight: Gotterdammerung; final cycle 24, 25, 28 Oct & 2 Nov at Covent Garden (0171-304 4000) and on Radio 3.

our view

Traditionalists should stay home. Everyone else should consider the pilgrimage.

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
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Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
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Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
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Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

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The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

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