Melancholia

Rated R 130 min. 2011

In the first half of Melancholia, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) slowly but surely sabotages her own wedding reception, and you can’t really blame her, because there is no one there who doesn’t demand something from her or from the occasion. Each of them want Justine to be happy, but Justine is not happy. And they can’t accept it because of how her unhappiness effects them. This first part of the film drags along as Justine drags out her collapse. She is heavy with sadness, traipsing around her reception while belabored by the weight of her dress and her depression. As much as this depression is admittedly one of writer and director (and is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-Hitler-sympathizer) Lars von Trier’s influences behind Melancholia, destruction and selfishness are running themes as well, and they are especially apparent in the second part, which occurs a short time after the wedding. Melancholia, a planet that has been hiding behind the sun, has made its way past Mercury and Venus and will be flying by Earth very soon. Justine’s sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is terrified, and husband John (Keifer Sutherland) contemptuously puts down her doomsday theories. They bring Justine, now physically ill from her mental state, to their mansion, and as the planet approaches at thousands of miles per hour, she is able to anchor herself as the rest of her family becomes unhinged. There’s a slowness to be expected out of a 140-minute Lars von Trier film, and the pace escalates the anxiety of the impending doom orbiting our planet. Gainsbourg and Sutherland give effective performances of fear and false senses of security, but Dunst is clearly the center of the film. Despite all of the unforgivable things she does throughout the course of it — whether disappearing from her reception time and time again to abusing her beloved horse — by Melancholia’s end, because of her depressive state, she is the only steady thing we have left to hold onto.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.melancholiathemovie.com

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård, Brady Corbet and Udo Kier

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Melancholia

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