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A sure-fire, tear-jerking, audience pleaser, this engaging and moving film wears its heart resolutely on its sleeve, blending love, friendship, grief and drama with some romping and rousing bluegrass tunes.

At a hospital parents Didier (Heldenbergh) and Elise (Baetens) are having to adjust to grim reality that their six year-old daughter Maybelle (Nell Cattrysse) is suffering from a terminal illness. The story then flips back seven years – and continues to skip back-andforth – as it fleshes out the story of Didier and Elise and their years together. He is a bushy-bearded cowboy who fronts a bluegrass band while she is a prodigiously tattooed blonde. Before long their spirited sexual relationship has developed into something more intense and she starts singing with the band. Before you know it, she is accidentally pregnant – he initially has problems dealing with the realities and responsibilities, but soon embraces the concept and starts renovating the Flemish farmhouse they share.

What could have been a rather straightforward – and possibly overwrought – drama is given pathos and passion by Nico Leunen’s astute editing which weaves the story back and forward through the years, gradually revealing key aspects to the story and developing the characters. Plus the striking lead performances by Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh are delivered with real passion, with Baetens especially showing real star quality.

Mark Adams, Screen International