Powerful and meaningful if you've been there (by misty_77)
There's a serious polarity in the reviews for this film,and I'm not surprised. If you've ever suffered depression this bleak movie will hit hard, and you'll pick up on all of the subtle messages it sends out. It's done so well it can't be anything other than achingly familiar. The despondency, and the frustration the sufferer feels at their own despondency, in particular, is well conveyed. Unfortunately I think a large chunk of the people who've seen this film and there aren't many who have, sadly went to it expecting a slightly arty apocalypse movie. <more>
It's not a smarter Deep Impact. The blue planet Melancholia is just a metaphor for depression. Unrelenting and irresistible, Melancholia has the main character in its thrall.For those who don't "get" this movie, no it's not a pretentious, pseudo intellectual flick. Rather it's a well crafted take on the fine detail of a subject matter that you have been fortunate enough to not have had to understand. Long may that be the case.
I've never seen anything so painfully familiar. Every move of Justine, her every word echoes with the heartache of a melancholiac. And the inability of the others to understand this pain, their inability to feel it and understand - it only makes it more familiar to the ones drowning in this mute slow-motion everyday despair. After watching this movie I went home without saying a word, I sat down on my chair and sat there silently for about an hour. I like Lars von Trier, I liked his movies before, but this one was a headshot. In this one film Lars von Trier succeeded to show all the <more>
ultimate emptiness of the everyday rituals, the endless longing of a melancholiac and the unbearable helplessness of this condition - like a bulletproof glass cocoon around you, muting the sounds and making the colors dim. I vote "excellent", 'cause this film is closer to my heart than any other I've seen before.
Lars von Trier's Wagnerian opera of 2011 - the Ragnarok of western capitalism (by hedgehog5)
Melancholia is LVT's Wagnerian opera. Justine is a mythological creation. She is the white goddess, Diana bathing, la Belle Dame Sans Merci, Cassandra tormented by futurity. It ends in Gottedammerung, the destruction of the world. The Cannes jury was right to honour it. In 2, 10 or 100 years this will be manifestly THE film of 2011, capturing as it does this precise historical moment, on the cusp of epochs. More than just an economic crisis, or even the end of Western capitalism, or the American Century, or of Europe - though it is all that - it is the consummation in fire of all we have <more>
ever known. Leaders and experts sit mesmerised and powerless, making reassuring noises, or setting aside puny provisions; taking shelter in denial or custom. While Melancholia and Earth act out their dance of death; gravity, the most ineluctable force in the universe, does its work. Justine, being incapable of happiness, is therefore incapable of illusion. She has always known. Herself untouched by affect, by human assimilation or persuasion, she writes the killer tag lines which manipulate others. Having a damaged soul, she suffers from a disorder of perception - she sees things as they actually are. She knows precisely how many beans are in the jar -like those who called the top of the Dow Jones index, at 12807 exactly. On one level, she represents the spirit of financialisation, the final, hottest white dwarf phase of capitalism, quantifying, inhumane, ultra-competitive seen also in Skaarsgard's brutal ad boss, and in the brother-in-law who paid for the wedding - "an arm and a leg, for most people" -he means it literally I think - chilling! And, like the Sybil, Justine wants to die. She wills the destruction of herself and everything else. 'The Earth is evil.'LVT is the holy idiot of European cinema. Much as Justine destroys her stellar career, then hours later, in the garden, consciously and irrevocably obliterates her marriage and future happiness, so LVT - in the most perfect example of parallel process - in his acceptance speech at Cannes compulsively befouls himself, his credibility, future opportunities, his film and all associated with it. Poor Dunst, beside him. Did she always know? I wonder. Which brings me to Kirsten Dunst.Once the all-American teenage sweetie in some of my favourite films. The US invented the teenager, much as the English Victorians invented childhood, and its richest and most creative seam of film and TV deal with this stage of life. In a way, America is the world's teenager; and all teenagers are Americans by proxy. In fact, Dunst is German-American, with all the ancestral baggage that implies. Read Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' if you don't know what I mean . Beneath the apple-pie sunny exterior of her teen roles, there was always something remote and uncanny about her beauty. And now, with teen / young adult roles behind her, this strangeness, this well, German-ness, is exposed. In the riveting opening shots of 'Melancholia' she looks like Marlene Dietrich - unheimlich, fascinating. Like la Belle Dame Sans Merci, she takes possession of a man through his unconscious: like the groom in the film, he will follow her, exchanging all that is dear - home, family and hope of happiness - for bitterness and despair. In the scene in the limo, the earliest, lightest part of the story, she seems American, in accent, face, body, She becomes less American , more northern European, and ultimately less like a human being at all, as her story unwinds. Those who criticise the inconsistency in her accent are missing the point. The change is about the character, not her nationality, which is purposely vague. In fact, in what country does the film take place? Would you ask that question of 'the Ring'? I get the impression that just as Lars is working through some issues around his German-ness – hence the Wagnerianism -, so is Dunst, which must have made his Cannes performance doubly excruciating. I hear she wants to be called 'Keersten' now, pronounced the German way. For the girl who has been being other people superbly well from her childhood, it seems to me that Dunst the adult truly exposes something painfully real of herself in this film. 'Exposing' is the right word in every way. And she pulls it off. The film is stunning. She is stunning, and thoroughly deserves Best Actress. Bravo, Lars von Trier!
Regardless of strange flaws It totally worked for me! (by eskilmoehl)
First off, let there be no doubt Melancholia is an amazing movie, a one of a kind experience. But it's also a strange movie. Strange because some parts are just so much better than others. From divine touch of genius to actually really rather bad. There are parts that are so strikingly beautiful that you can not help being mesmerized, there's superb directing resulting in amazing, almost screen transcending acting and this is from the girl from "Bring it on" mind you , and there are parts were sound and imagery merge with such impact that you get blown away. But then there <more>
are parts that feels just the opposite, some characters are portrayed surprisingly flat and their dialog and behavior seems contrived at best, almost like they never got beyond a crude first draft in the writing. The mother and the boss especially could have been watered down and integrated with more finesse IMO. It sounds like no biggie but it's such a stark contrast to the brilliance you find in other parts of the movie e.g. the subtle and tender portrayal of the groom and his love and affection for his troubled wife. Regardless and in spite of these rather prominent shortcomings I was sucked in from the mind blowing opening and my emotions were once again stripped bare and exposed at the signature killing blow finale. As before with Trier's films, I stumbled out of the theater, all numb and profoundly touched.
I have never wished for a collision with another planet, until I watched this film (by infinitesilence6)
When we think about the end of the world, we usually think about the things we have always wanted to do, but never got the chance to. In whatever way it is that we wish to live our last hours on earth, whether it be by going out with close friends and relatives, or doing the things you never thought you'd do, the feelings of impending doom are the driving force behind our decisions. There have been many films lately that seek a comedic twist to something of this level which isn't a bad thing , but what Lars Von Trier does with Melancholia is give us a beautifully orchestrated vision <more>
about the beauty that comes with the destruction of our planet as well as very realistic and often somber interactions between the characters in this film. One can't help but be mesmerized and terrified by the magnitude of Melancholia and the attention to detail, the science dear lord! was easy to understand and though it wasn't the focal point of the film, it was enough to offer the audience an idea as to how something like that was possible. I would be lying if I said it didn't make me weep. The film is separated by chapters that focus on the two sisters played by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg and their lives before and after they found out about Melancholia. I believe that by taking the time to show us how the sisters were before the end of the world even became a possibility, we understand why they react the way they do to the news. Accepting what is to come instead of fearing it is what separates the sisters and the conversations/arguments that transpire speak a lot about the human condition and forces us to ask ourselves: What will I do with the time I have left? I watched this film about a month ago and I still think about it. It's captivating and absolutely worth your time.
A Beautifully Disturbing Art House Flick (by Foxbot)
***No Spoilers*** Being a huge fan of Lars Von Trier's work I was highly anticipating this film. It was released in cinemas on 29 May 2011 in the Czech Republic on 12 screens as well as other locations like Denmark, Finland and Italy. It soon will come to theaters in the US. Luckily we live in the time that we do and this movie can be streamed before its US theatrical release. I took advantage of this and greatly enjoyed watching this film from the comfort of my own home.I loved Antichrist. In my opinion it is Trier's best work. It was a very disturbing film, yet it had a very strong <more>
message with hidden meanings and was all around a beautiful poetic piece of work.Melancholia also is a beautiful film, though I believe I expected more. Antichrist is very deep and constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat because so much is happening and you must decipher the message and meaning of the film. Melancholia is very slow and drawn out. Lars Von Trier did this due to the high anticipation of what will happen, and if it will happen. Trier used the characters anxiety and built upon that and made the viewer feel that anxiety too. Just like Antichrist, Melancholia is a feeling. Your not just watching a movie, eating popcorn and drinking a pop, you are feeling this film.Just a quick summary for those who don't know, Melancholia is a planet which is seemingly coming closer to Earth. This phenomenon happens when Justine Kirsten Dunst has just been married to Michael Alexander Skarsgård . Justine's sister, Clair Charlotte Gainsbourg , her husband John Kiefer Sutherland , and Justine and Clair's mother Gaby Charlotte Rampling greatly put pressure on Justine to have this perfect wedding. Justine is not very interested in the wedding reception and seems to come in and out of reality. She is not the type of person to have such a large wedding because she doesn't care. She is a wild girl who seems to have been roped into marrying Michael and marrying into this new family which she is nothing like. There is a lot of drama in this film and for the first half, Melancholia is a back story which the viewer patiently waits for.The cast is amazing and works well together. I really enjoyed Kiefer Sutherlands character. Kirsten Dunst did an amazing job, however her performance seems unbalanced at times, though the character she is playing is unbalanced.After viewing this film I was left speechless due to the raw power of the cast and the images of the film itself. However it made me feel very uneasy, disturbed and very anxious. I immediately thought, "I never want to watch that again". Yet I cannot get it out of my mind and I watched it again later that night. This movie will deeply leave an impression on you.
Yesterday I had the chance to see Melancholia. I was a bit anxious given the mixed reception here either euphoric or very negative .It seems the media are talking more about the disaster-press-conference-from-hell Lars gave in Cannes. Which is a shame.Like always, Lars von Trier does not want to appeal to the general public, but in stead wants to present the viewer something unique and honest.It was influenced by his own "melancholia", of which he suffered when working on this project.I, for one saw solid acting and great directing from a person who carefully observes and <more>
understands human interaction. For me it works.This movie is by no means perfect but it was thought provoking, and heart touching and that's exactly what a decent movie should try to achieve. Thank you for reading my opinion.
In Trier's nicest movie, the world ends (by filmbizarro)
One important thing about "Melancholia" is that we're already told that the world WILL end in it. Lars von Trier has said it, and if you don't believe a trickster like him, then we have it in the epilogue of the film. The epilogue shows really visually stunning scenes from through out the movie we are about to watch or rather, more artistic versions of what is going to happen . This is very reminiscent of "Antichrist" with the occasional artistic slow-motion shots we got in it, except everything is packed in the start of the movie here.After this we're <more>
presented with two acts. The first act is "Justine", which is about her and her wedding. Justine Kirsten Dunst is a seemingly happy newlywed, and at first we're really feeling the connection between her and Michael Alexander Skarsgård as they laugh, hug, kiss and celebrate their wedding day. As Justine notices a weird star in the sky, she also starts acting strange and dozy, and eventually do some things that mess up the party. Claire Charlotte Gainsbourg and her husband John Kiefer Sutherland are the hosts of the party and paid for the whole thing, so needless to say they're not happy with how Justine is screwing up her own party. The second act is "Claire", and it starts at the aftermath of the wedding party. Justine is staying with Claire, John and their son and is really weak. So much that she can't even take a bath without help. Mean while Claire is worried about the planet that is suppose to be flying by Earth, but her husband assures her that scientists have said it will miss.It's hard to know how much to write about the story when everyone already knows that Earth will end. The fact that we know this makes it very interesting because even though the audience knows it as I said, we even see it in the epilogue we still get some weird hopes that it won't be true after all. Sometimes we even forget the planet all together because the first half of the movie focuses much more on the wedding and Justine. It's in the second act that everything really starts going as the planet Melancholia gets close enough to be spotted. The two sisters are really interesting to study, with Justine getting a pessimistic view at life and almost feels an attraction to the planet. And Claire is the much more humane part, with all the worry and panic that you can imagine getting in a situation like this.The movie is shot, as usual with Lars, with hand-held. Most of the film is pretty classic Lars in that sense, and most of it is also less visually striking than "Antichrist". But when the movie really does focus on beauty, it beats "Antichrist" hands down. And that's saying a lot because to me that "Antichrist" is one of most visually stunning films I've seen. Even though the style is directly influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky, I think Lars made it his own. "Melancholia" shares some of that visual style but as the planet becomes part of the visuals and not just the story, it's really amazing. The effects of the planet looks really good. Lars clearly knows how much and how little to put in his films to make it feel more than it looks. This movie is the least disaster-like disaster movie that I have ever seen, as the psychological aspect remains the goal and the planet is the backdrop. And of course it ends with the best shot of the movie, it's really beautiful and I'm happy I got to see it on the big screen.Our two main leads, Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg are both great in their roles. Kirsten won Best Actress at the Cannes festival and she actually did a great job with her dozy, off-beat performance. I'm not sure I've seen her act as well as she did in this one. And then we have Charlotte... Her performance in "Antichrist" is absolutely harrowing and must've been a tough act to follow, but luckily she was given such a different part as the good, humane sister. Yet again she did a brilliant job and quickly make you forget her as the crazy bitch in "Antichrist". I wouldn't know who to give the Best Actress Award to if I were to pick between Kirsten and Charlotte.Even though "Melancholia" probably is Lars von Trier's nicest movie to date, it's not without playing on your feelings. There are funny moments, very sad moments and extremely intense moments. It feels strange to say that it's his nicest when the world ends, but it is. It's one of his most innocent, calm and atmospheric films. It doesn't leave you happy nor sad, you just feel hollow and empty. Ignore the scientific factual errors, you've got what you came for - Lars von Trier's film about the end of the world. Yet you're not sure if you got what you wanted when it finally ended. It ends in such a bang, but it's a peaceful bang. Too peaceful? Not at all, it goes hand-in-hand with the rest of the movie. Would I say it's his best movie? No, I still think "Riget" I&II , "Breaking The Waves" and "Antichrist" are above this movie. This might be tied with some of his films, but I'm just clarifying where I stand on it. I think "Melancholia" is a fantastic movie, and I want to watch it again when I get a chance.For more reviews: FilmBizarro.com
We begin at the end of the world. (by Rockwell_Cronenberg)
That's the basic premise of Lars von Trier's epic Melancholia, we start with the destruction of the planet and then work our way back into a character study of two sisters and their unique minds and approaches. The film is split up into two parts, one focusing on Kirsten Dunst's Justine and her wedding day and the other focusing on Charlotte Gainsbourg's Claire and the days approaching the collision of the titular planet with our own. In studying these two women, von Trier explores the fragile states of mind that can come with people suffering from depression and anxiety <more>
disorders, something that he is well known to be quite familiar with. The end of the world collision seems to be a distinct metaphor for the kind of cataclysmic affect that these kind of mental diseases can have on the human mind. Melancholia works tremendously in this way, but it also stuck out to me as a phenomenal study of these two women, even without that apocalyptic backdrop.A woman on her wedding day is always displayed as the example of perfect bliss, the blushing bride who is nothing but smiles and happy tears. The moment we meet Justine it seems that something is a little off and as her day continues we discover that she has an apparent history with depression and it's coming to the forefront of her mind, breaking down what is supposed to be the best day of her life. Everyone around her tries to help her in some way be it an approach of tenderness, anger or enabling , but Justine is unable to shake this powerful sensation. As someone who has suffered with depression, I found Dunst and von Trier's portrayal of it here shockingly accurate. The way that it can just eat away at you, no matter how hard you try to squash it or how wonderful other people can be around you. For some reason it just takes over and refuses to let go. Justine's unraveling was quite an emotional experience for me, made even more so by the state we see her in when it switches to part two.The second part brings us back to the end, starting five days before the collision occurs. Justine is now staying with Claire and husband John Kiefer Sutherland , as they try to help her deal with her current frame of mind. John is fascinating with the approaching Melancholia, while we soon discover that Claire suffers from a serious anxiety disorder and a planet with the potential to destroy our entire existence is the worst case scenario for someone in her state. As was done with Justine's depression, Gainsbourg and von Trier portray this kind of anxiety to a shockingly accurate detail. The way that your emotions can change on a dime, just with someone saying a simple word, how one moment someone trying to comfort you can be the most beautiful bit of relief and the next it could drive you absolutely mad. The way the film shifts the positions of these two sisters from power to vulnerability is startling from the first half to the second, keeping us interested and keeping the actors on their toes.It is certainly no doubt that the film belongs to these two women. Gainsbourg proved two years ago in Antichrist that she is a force to be reckoned with on the acting front and von Trier once again gives her material to shine. She seems so resilient and tender in the opening part, the kind of sister who would always be there for you and you would always want, and then she is torn apart in the second. Starting off strong, she slowly unravels in the anxieties of her mind and it's stunning to watch how she breaks down in some of the final scenes of the film. Gainsbourg keeps you feeling for her so strongly the entire time, I really felt a deep connection with her character and she was able to establish that so well. Dunst is an actress who has never managed to impress me for more than about half of her performance, but here she is on a level I had no idea she was even capable of. As I said earlier, her portrayal of this level of depression is staggeringly accurate to an almost jaw-dropping level. She is so unraveled in the opening part and in a character that could have been this horrible, detestable woman she somehow makes you feel for her so deeply. She does things that are absolutely despicable but I still managed to feel so much sympathy for her, and I can accredit that entirely to Dunst's magnificent work here. In the second part she slowly starts to become this vapid, cerebral figure on the outside of Claire's looming destruction. In this, Dunst is able to reign in the more theatrical aspects of the character and become more subtle and internal, something that most actresses may have not been able to achieve. The most impressive part of the two women's portrayals is how well they complement one another, one taking the spotlight while the other supports and then shifting gears and changing sides. It's incredible to watch and even more incredible to look back on afterwards.