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Powerful and meaningful if you've been there
misty_7713 February 2012
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. 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.
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shizoeid12 September 2011
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 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.
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A voyage
guy-schellens-41-71530816 August 2011
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 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.
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I have never wished for a collision with another planet, until I watched this film
infinitesilence621 August 2013
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 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.
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Depression Deconstructed
Mblodnieks21 July 2018
This movie completely freaked me out. It was SO well done, but if you've ever suffered from serious depression it really gets under your skin.

People I know who watched this movie thought it was boring and didn't understand it. I understood it very well. I have never seen a better metaphor for depression, and the seductiveness of "giving in."

If you're very depressed, don't watch this movie alone.
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orchard617 October 2013
Melancholia is a 2011 film written and directed by the controversial Lars Von Trier and follows two sisters as the end of the world draws near. The film is actually more about the current lives of the two sisters than it is the end of the world; yet the impending doom does heavily influence a series of events. Presently, the film has received mostly positive reviews and was praised for the imagery used throughout the film.

To truly appreciate all that Melancholia has to offer the film must be analyzed by taking a look at its two separate acts. The feel of the first act is much different than the feel and plot of the second act. The first act is titled "Justine", as it focuses on the character Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her severe depression on her wedding day. The first act doesn't have much to do with the fact that all life on Earth is going to be wiped out. In fact, it doesn't really focus on the impending planet collision at all; it is simply about Justine as a character and all those around her at the time of the wedding. It is clear the Justine suffers from some type of mental illness but it is not made clear exactly what is wrong with her. She does very odd things throughout her entire wedding day including cheating on her husband. She spends a majority of the time away from her party, hiding out either on the golf course located outside or with her nephew, which seems to be the only things she derives joy from. Justine can be a very annoying character to watch as she seems to want to do nothing but ruin her own party, yet the camera shots of her off on her own either on the golf course or in the backyard are some of the best in the film.

The second act of the film titled "Claire" focuses mainly on Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and the impending impact of the planets. The first act can be slightly more interesting because as a viewer it is not really explained why Justine is doing all of the things she does, a lot of mystery surrounds her character. The second act picks up slightly after the events of the first, but follows Claire this time. She is worried about the collision yet her husband assures her it will miss Earth and they will be able to gaze upon it with their telescope. Throughout the second act Claire must deal with her Justine's depression as well as her own husband and child, all while constantly worrying about the collision. The second half of the film is much more intense than the first, and the editing reflects that, especially towards the climax. The use of shaky shots gives the viewer a sense of uneasiness and uncertainty as to how it will end.

Perhaps Melancholia's greatest achievement is its cinematography and beautiful sequence of unique shots, most notably in the opening sequence. The first opening sequence takes place entirely in slow- motion, showing many of the main characters, and is one of the highlights of the entire film. The camera work and settings used in this film are really something to talk about. The setting of a mansion is both isolating and elegant, and these two things are reflected within the carefully planned camera work.

My biggest gripe with the film would definitely be its pacing. It will be really engaging one minute and then slow down to a dead halt the next. However, when the film does have its shining moments, they are extremely memorable.
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Lars von Trier's Wagnerian opera of 2011 - the Ragnarok of western capitalism
hedgehog51 October 2011
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 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!
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At times, absolutely brilliant, mostly just boring and annoying
joose9024 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Melancholia was a movie I went to see expecting it to blow me away. I thought: now here's a movie that doesn't have the mass-friendliness of the average Hollywood movie, but at the same time actually has a nice budget, and some good actors. Now don't get me wrong, I often find low- budget films with fresh talent amazing, but with Melancholia I was hoping for something that successfully molds together the Hollywood and indie movie scenes. Here's what I thought of the movie:

As it opens there's a quite long, slow moving apocalyptic scene that I won't even try to explain. But, to be honest, I found it to be quite nicely done. With the occasional space imagery to me it looked like if Ingmar Bergman had made a 2001: A Space Odyssey -based short film. Wagner's music really made it an extraordinary experience.

Part I: The Wedding (no I'm not calling it Justine, live with it): At first it seemed like a pretty nice, slow starting, atmosphere building part of the movie (note that at this point I still really wanted to enjoy this movie), but as time went on I found myself hating most of the badly written, annoying, and shallow cast, and I was hoping for bad things to happen to them all, especially Justine, Kirsten Dunst's character. By the way, why does everyone consider her performance so great? Sure, she was good at playing an angsty character whose motives remain a mystery to everyone, but honestly, being either expressionless or having an intentionally painful fake smile on shouldn't be that hard. When the wedding scene was over, I thought, finally, now can we get to the part where this gets good?

Part II: The Generic Ranch: So, after being bored with the first half of the movie I was hoping for something a bit better. Well, I never got what I was hoping for. Justine just got a lot more annoying, we found out she has paranormal abilities, and people were taking a planet sucking out some of earth's atmosphere, probably taking it off it's course and killing everyone on it regardless of weather it collided or not really goddamn well. Not even Kiefer Sutherland's great performance could make me have any motivation for watching on. For the first time in my life I was actually contemplating walking out of the theater I was so bored and annoyed. Long story short, Justine was a total douche, her sister paniced and the world came to an end, and the movie ended. Oh yeah and there was that kid who did an even worse performance than Jake Lloyd on Star Wars ep. 1. Yes it was really that bad.

Okay, the very end was pretty epic, with Wagner's music almost blowing my eardrums out and a huge blue planet smashing into the earth. I have to admit though, when the movie ended, I accidentally let out a giggle, much to the dismay of most people sitting near me. Seriously, as well made as it was, it was a pretty silly way to end the movie in my opinion.

Alright, pros and cons:

Pros: We saw Kirsted Dunst naked a couple of times, and although I really disliked the jumpy, amateuristic camera-work, the movie was at times visually amazing, and not really ever over the top. Also, the idea for the movie was pretty cool, and I really enjoyed Kiefer Sutherland's acting. The very beginning and very end should have been made into separate short films because they were really worth watching.

Cons: Exceptionally shallow characters whose ridiculously small backstories were just thrown on to the viewers, mostly just average, sometimes painfully weak acting, and plentiful filler scenes that had no purpose whatsoever and that could have been cut down without the movie losing anything, while some scenes were just cut off completely (for example the impromptu sex scene with Justine and her husband, which, if correctly made, could have told us most everything about their relationship, and many more scenes that were just cut way too short).

Conclusion: I'd like to give the movie more points just for it's beginning and end, and the story that had great potential for a sci-fi - sporting drama, but I just can't. For the first time in a while I seriously had trouble getting through this movie without walking out in the middle. Sorry to all the people who think it's a great movie, but personally I think I'd seriously rather do the dishes and mow the lawn than watch this movie again.
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Cruel torture by boredom
the_wolf_imdb2 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The movie shines visually at certain points. To be specific it shines first five minutes and then the last say 20 seconds.

The rest of the movie is just cruel, sadistic and never ending torture by boredom. First and foremost, the lead character is not "melancholic". She is seriously depressed, I mean chemotherapy to electro-convulsive therapy class depressed. It is seriously not fun to watch her being depressed. It made me feel very depressed as well and this was just the beginning.

The family seems to be broken, but in a very boring way. Nothing much happens here except for people running away (I wish I did the same thing after opening scene, but I was hoping for at least some pretty pictures later on). Then nothing happens, then nothing happens, then nothing happens, then the sister suddenly understands the World is going to end, so she freaks a little, runs around a little, then all three remaining heroes decide to sit at their asses and to wait for collision.

Yes, there are some pretty pictures of the castle where the boring people live, but seriously I would rather watch another Miss Marple murder case. These movies are silly but at least something happens! Seriously I never expected to see another Armageddon or something like that but this bottle is completely empty. There are not even questions, it just frustrating wait for the end of the World so the movie may end as well.

I'm so so disappointed. If you were attracted by the trailer, you may go home now. There is nothing more interesting to see here. The trailer is misleading, it is pretty poster consisting of all the action in the movie. The rest is just cold, empty, freezing hell of boredom disguised as a art. Even the worst Lynch movies are at least an order of magnitude better than this!
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Really slow, terrible camera shaking the whole way, ultimately pointless
movies-4904 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First the camera shaking, it is of course a style of sorts, but it doesn't add anything when its every shot all the time (save perhaps 3 mins of long shots). I do personally have a problem where this kind of shaking actually affects my inner ear and makes me motion sick. So for me the film is actually unwatch-able without a motion sickness pill. Even after taking one though it wasn't watch- able with the amount of constant shaking for me at least. I did persevere until about an hour and a quarter into it before deciding it was junk and really not worth it.

You could watch this film on double speed without loosing much at all. It is tediously slow moving. But what's worse is that its ultimately pointless.

The whole film feels just like a meaningless indulgence of the film makers fantasies for the sake of it.

On a positive note the acting is good.
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A Load of Fatuous Garbage
t-g-weaver4 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I think this is the worst piece of sadistic, fatuous crap that I have ever seen. Von Trier is clearly seeing how completely he can pull the wool over art-house viewers. It is also an abuse of Wagner's magnificent music. In addition to the ridiculous science-fiction framework (it is conceivable that if a planet 10 times the mass of the earth was heading right at us, it might at least make the evening news, but nobody even seems to be aware of it). Also, an abject that massive would create a horrendous gravitational effect which would dramatically alter the Earth's (and the Moon's) orbits, create massive earthquakes and huge tides that would overwhelm all coastal cities, etc. I couldn't stop laughing in the last scene when the planet nearly fills the whole sky and the sea in front of the mansion is not even disturbed a bit. Oh please. And the cheap CGI rendering of nebulae etc. are not worthy of a B movie (see The Tree of Life for breathtaking handling of such images, created by a master filmmaker). The absurdly long wedding scene, with every art-house black-tie trope imaginable, was just insufferable. What a piece of garbage.
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Transform to Lars von Trier for 2 hours.
KarenAM14 July 2011
''Melancholia'' - Lars von Trier's best work to date. The movie is about the nature of depression and how 2 sisters go through it. Kirsten Dunst (Justine) accepts her melancholia by the time a planet that was hiding behind the sun threatens to collide the Earth, while other sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg - Clair) is afraid to face the reality and her own personal emotions. If you have any little doubt whether you want to watch this movie or not, you better don't, because this is not for everyone, and if you still want to see this then prepare yourself for what you're going to face. The movie is all about how Lars Von Trier sees the world, the people and the dearness between them. It's beautiful, it's real, it's disgusting, it's terrifying - it all depends on how you want to perceive this film. The opening and the ending scenes are mesmerizing! The music used in the film is taken from Wagner's ''Tristan and Isolde'' opera which fits the movie perfectly. Cinematography - amazes. Special effects, not for 3D, but are very realistic and breathtaking. Kirsten Dunst gives us her best performance to date, forget the girl in Spider-man, this is a new level for her. She finally proves us how good she can be with the right movie choice. An Oscar nomination is on its way... I'm not a fan of Lars and his movies, but this one had me at the edge of my seat to the last minute. 10/10
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fxdillinger-uno21 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This review MAY contains spoilers, yes. The movie itself DOES contain spoilers.

The first four minutes or so are awesome. You can do yourself a favor and leave the theater after that for dinner and coffee. You can come back for the last two minutes save the titles. They bookend the beginning. The rest is torture. If you are a depressive masochist, you might find the middle part enjoyable though. I gave it 2 stars for those few minutes.

"It looks like sh.t. I'm shaken." These are not my words. It's from Lars Von Triers director's statement about this film.

When Lars Von Trier appeared with Kirsten Dunst at Cannes promoting his latest effort in tormenting audiences he claimed to understand Hitler. Maybe because this rather endless, self indulging narcissistic art-house piece about the annihilation of rural upper class Denmark had brainwashed him to the point of calling himself a Nazi and Isreal a "pain in the ass". Who knows. Maybe he meant to promote the film. It did not reach me.

His promotional efforts got Trier banned from Cannes. He is banned from my play list too after I have been bored to tears one more time with outdated art-house tricks that have ceased to impress me in the last millennium.

Kiefer Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg (they don't look like sisters) and others are working loyally with their tormentor. It's sad watching them waisting their talent though on this pointless journey. Udo Kier has a short cameo and is funny, as always, even in pointless surroundings.

The editing is bad enough to use it as an example for film students on how to make wrong choices.

Yes, jerking a camera endlessly and pointlessly can be done, even 15 years after "Breaking the Waves". Back then shaking cameras without meaning was some kind of art-house fashion statement. Now it looks like someone wearing the wrong trousers to the wrong party.

The implausible arrival of another planet, being observed through an obscure piece of wire until it finally smashes an idyllic pasture was great for two things: it ends both the endless camera jerking and the movie.

Even if this review will be stowed away deep in the bulk of this distributor's guest reviews, I'd like to warn you. The film leaves you in pointless depression. If you think that's a good way to invest your time end money, I can highly recommend it.
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Visually spectacular, beautifully acted, compelling dialogue, strong direction.
SAntenna20 May 2011
Trier takes us for a ride. It's a slow ride, taking in the beauty of the cinematography. It is at once a beautiful movie, while at the same time focusing on the absence of real love between the characters - and in the world. The movie hints at a correlation between the lack of love, and the threat of impending doom that's present throughout.

I speculate that every viewer will take something slightly different away from the picture, because the movie is designed to make you think about us humans and our behaviors toward each other, as well as enjoy the work of wonder that the movie is. What you end up with is dependent of what you take to the movie in the first place. Trier's movies are usually adept at making you feel. In this movie you are left to your own devices. There is no inherently good person to root or feel for. There is only the state of the world. And the future of the human kind. Can you be bothered to feel for us?

Truly Trier-esque (10/10).
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A self-indulgent mess that is barely watchable. Warning: Spoilers
Well, it seems that finally Lars Von Trier jumped the shark. I had bad feelings about his future movies, especially after seeing how mediocre and forgettable the overrated "Antichrist" film was, but this is in many ways much, much worse than that movie.

After the incredible opening sequence, everything on this movie goes downhill.

The whole deal about the world ending is just merely an excuse for the director to introduce here the most pretentious ramblings about how life on earth is worthless and how everyone is an idiot except the annoying main character (Which to me wasn't much better than the typical pretentious ramblings from an emo teen) As if those awful attempts to introduce "nihilistic" philosophy wasn't bad enough, the atrocious visual style (With lots of annoying and shaky camera movements; personally I don't think that kind of direction made this movie more "realistic" or something like that, it only makes it look amateurish and poorly made) is enough to turn the experience of watching this movie into something that is not only boring and dumb, but also ugly and irritating as well to the point of being insufferable. The plot (Or lack of it thereof) is idiotic: Most of the scenes from this movie seem shoehorned and have zero relevance to the main story (If there is one) and just serve to show the main character acting all sad and depressed, and as if this were some "Twilight" movie, her behavior is shown as something "positive" while the actions of every other character are shown under a negative light, as if not being sad all the time and claiming every single moment that every human action is futile were something "bad" or "stupid".

"Melancholia" is not sad at all. It is just pathetic.

This movie is so dumb, slow, pretentious and self indulgent that it almost make "The Tree of Life" (Another overrated artsy -fartsy snore-fest released in the year 2011) look good in comparison. Avoid this movie.
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Bored stiff
steff10111 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I went into this movie with moderate expectations, as the cinema I was watching it at usually shows decent art and foreign films. The opening of this movie was epic, you can't take that away from it. However, the remaining 90 minutes or so were just incredibly painful to sit through.

Imagine someone who is bordering on catatonic depression and whose outlook on life is purely inficete and apathetic. Now take that personality, halve it and then halve it again and then make them a movie director. The product is lars von trier, and this movie was probably his way of expressing this. I have seen some shocking movies in my time, but this surely takes the cake. The novelty of shaking cameras, slow motion scenes and tinted lenses wears off faster than a henna tattoo.

The film was boring. I think the only thing keeping me awake was my flatulence after eating a bowl of chips prior to the film. The positive reviews of this film come from the unctuous and obsequious art house critics, who are incapable of forming an opinion which differs from their equally narrow minded friends, for the fear of being ostracised.
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Naked Snaggletooth Can Not Save This Film
ThreeGuysOneMovie18 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So I was on vacation for a few days and I had the opportunity to load up a few films onto my iPad that I had been meaning to watch. I am going to try and review them all over the next few days. First up is Lars Von Triers Melancholia. I saw Von Trier's last film Antichrist and truthfully I didn't think much of it. I didn't have very high hopes for this film either but I have been hearing really good things and decided to give it a chance.

I pretty much hated everything about this over-rated self-indulgent tripe. The story is really broken into two parts. First, there is a long marriage scene where Kirsten Dunst flits around giving everyone the stink eye. She refuses to have sex with her new husband, bangs some dude on a golf course instead and then tells her boss she hates her job and that she quits. Then she gets all depressed, which takes us to part 2. Kirsten Dunst acts all depressed and walks around giving everyone the stink eye while she stays with her overbearing, overly emotional sister played by an always annoying Charlotte Gainsbourg. As a side note, we find out that a planet named Melancholia has been hiding behind the sun (you sneaky planet you) and now may or not be on a collision course with earth. So Kirsten Dunst takes all her clothes off and lays down on the ground so she can give Melancholia the stink eye.

This movie sucked in ways I was not aware a movie could suck. It's artsy and weird just for the sake of being artsy and weird. It's and emotionless mess that leaves you feeling absolutely nothing at all. They assembled a pretty interesting cast and then did nothing with it. Kirsten Dunst is just plain annoying and Charlotte Gainsbourg does her best to take that title from Dunst. Kiefer Sutherland spends the movie acting like a simp with a poop eating grin on his face. This is the last time I waste any more of my life on that nazi loving corncob Lars Von Trier.
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unrealistic on every single level
pretol3 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Art: Cheesy slow motion. Camera shake. Camera constantly focused on the main actress' boobs. College grade cinematography tricks.

Plot/characters/acting: Characters only speak in meaningless one- liners. Every character is a psychopath, either smiling or scowling at each other; blank stares in-between. Nothing about this movie actually represents how people act or might act in a doom scenario (or any scenario, other than a mental institution). Since there's no depth to any of the characters or to any family dynamics the director resorts to emotional extortion in the form of suicide, yelling, boob shots, and a "surprise" sex scene. I'm surprised the director didn't throw in more emotional triggers (like a rape scene, or a dead baby). These meaningless human interactions occupy most of the movie with no relevance to the plot, and no character depth. 2 hours... If you start this movie expecting the plot to converge - NOPE, just 2 hours of blank stares, psychotic smiling and occasional crying.

Sound: I had serious problem with sound. Music is SO LOUD. It's a beautiful Wagner piece, but I was watching this movie with my thumb on the volume knob, because the audio engineer probably hated the movie SO MUCH that he decided to drown it out by prioritizing the music over all other sound-tracks.

GC: Although the planet-on-planet GC shots were kind of cool, there's nothing amazing there. This is probably where the 7 million budget went (2 minutes of mediocre planet crashing).
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Boring, jerky, but certainly melancholic
arthur-lancelyn-green16 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The film begins with a series of visually interesting shots of the main characters. Some are amusing, some are striking, and some are of one planet hitting another. This provides an enticing (but perhaps too long) introduction to the film, and we might expect to be treated to an unravelling of these intricate scenes through some similarly extravagant cinematography. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The planet Melancholia is expected to pass by the Earth. There is a wedding party for the newlywed Julia and her husband. The wedding is tense and ends with the groom leaving early without the bride. The film then follows Julia, her sister, and a few others as we learn that Melancholia will, in fact, collide with Earth and destroy it.

The plot is fairly basic, which, in itself, does not make it a bad film. However, a film short of plot needs something else to interest an audience for two hours, and, sadly, there isn't much more to take away from it. The characters are not believable and we cannot sympathise with any of them; the acting is poor, despite a star cast; the camera-work is jerky and messy, as if shot completely by "the guy with the camcorder" at a party. However, the film is well-lit and contains a handful of spectacular shots.

Just as the Earth collided with Melancholia, so did I - shortly followed by boredom, frustration, and nausea.
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An utter waste of time
dag-o-johansen17 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ** The movie is visually interesting at times, but I frankly cannot fathom why it is so highly rated here on IMDb. Personally, I have a long list of problems with it.

The movie opens with Justine, a psychologically unstable, selfish woman who is later revealed to have psychic powers getting married. We are introduced to the gallery of deeply despicable characters; ranging from her boss (a power-hungry social misfit), her dad (a broken man who has given up on life), her mother (a cynical bitch who wants to make her daughter's decisions), her husband (a naive loser) and various others. The wedding has no relevance to the story, and nor do the characters, with the exception of one not completely awful man - an astronomy enthusiast.

Everything in this story is told as if in an attempt to test your patience. There is hardly any progress at all until near the ending, when a planet looms large on the horizon and we are supposed to marvel at the emotional impact of doomsday on a couple of unsympathetic characters. The premise is so silly that anyone with the most basic knowledge of astronomy will immediately recognize it as such; a planet several times larger than Earth has been "hiding behind the sun" but is now about to smash into us. (In case you didn't know, the earth orbits the sun in one year. In order for another planet to have remained hidden behind the sun for as long as we've had not just telescopes but really good astronomical data, it'd have to be moving around the sun exactly opposite to us with almost exactly the same period. How it could then suddenly be about to collide with us is of thankfully never addressed, as it would no doubt only have made matters even worse.) Some interesting visuals towards the end, and a lot of nice symphony-style music (cellos), but unfortunately nothing that could make up for the painfully slow and for me uninvolving story. A rock-solid rock-bottom rating of 1 from this reviewer then.
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"I think it's a piece of crap"
Paranoyia15 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yes and yes, not once, but twice had the movie uttered the above phrase in some sort of a self-aware meta-cinematic ejaculation. I honestly couldn't describe it better myself. I only put a flag on the spoiler box due to the fear of being prosecuted. Trust me, even if you haven't seen this "film" it really can't be spoilt: the movie basically spoils itself in the first couple of minutes.

Part I is essentially pointless as it establishes Justine to be a melancholic (see what both I and larsie-the-oh-so-awesome-director did there?) bitch. Yeah, her privileged upper class ass is having so much suffering, those poor starving kids in Africa couldn't even begin to approach the levels of agony that dumb bimbo is going through.

Justine is the quintessence of what I hate about western civilization. She's ignorant, yet claims to "know things" by being able to accurately predict the amount of beans in a jar (in retrospect of course). She's somewhat evil herself (politely cock-blocking her fiancée-going-for-husband on her wedding night, having monkey sex with some guy afterwards), yet calls all living things evil (probably making her the only good thing on this planet, even though she doesn't explicitly state it). And above all she's just so full of herself, that whiny little bitch.

Scratch that though, it's that idiot lars von trier (lower-case letters is the only thing he gets from me) making a statement: all living things are evil, plus Earth is the only planet with life on it. How that guy managed to sodomize philosophy on the side of ethics, physics on the side of cosmology and biology in one lucky strike is beyond me. The directing cretin behind this piece of trash trying to be a film makes the boldest of assumptions without any justification, analysis or evidence. It's this way, because I said it so, munch it up you morons or go home. And don't even get me started on the pseudo-scientific aspect of this manure. An undiscovered planet "hiding behind the sun" (like an inter-planetary boogeyman for billions of years) on a collision course with us carrying the name of this "movie"... Are you for real?

This garbage commits the worst of offenses: it takes its audience for a bunch of brainless and to add insult to injury it rubs it in our faces afterwards. The only redeeming thing about this atrocity is the surprisingly good performance by Kiefer "Jack Bauer" Sutherland. Apparently that guy can act, he just doesn't show it unless he's in a really crappy movie such as this one. Dunst is bland as always though and John Hurt is a blast as usual (but no points for you good sir, we expected you to be good).

If you want an artsy flick, go watch "Drive" instead. At least that one is harmless. Cinematography in "Melancholia", despite trying to be artsy is crap, especially the cuts. This disaster fails on every level, even on the points it tries to be sold on. Such an ultimate mess is truly a gem, if it was made out of droppings.
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About as entertaining as a root canal
mhendersonny17 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I gave this movie 1 star because of the styled wedding scenes at the start of the movie. Other than that, I much rather go to the dentist than see another Lars Von Trier movie.

The movie is basically about the depression (deep rooted psychological disturbances) of a young woman (Dunst). Mental illness deserves empathy, but this movie did nothing to evoke that emotion. Instead, I found it as an indulgent, superficial look from Von Trier on mental illness. He tried to show how it affects those around the sufferer, but it was portrayed in such a cold and insignificant light, I felt more for Cruella De Ville and her plight to only want a warm winter coat made from dogs than for the Dunst character. (At least 101 Dalmatians HAD a plot.)

Speaking of plot, this movie had none. I am smart enough to know that a planet cannot "hide behind the Sun" and that the planet crashing "plot" was simply thrown in so those with a brain wouldn't storm out of the movie. (That didn't stop me from falling asleep for 25 mins in the middle of the movie, though!)

Please learn from my mistake...Go to the dentist if you want two hours of torture!!!
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terrible as art and science
rpgrosso-115 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I can review this self-indulgent, pretentious bit of inanity using artistic criteria; but suffice it to say, as a work of art, this movie is a self-indulgent, pretentious piece of inanity. That's the accurate summary of what the movie really is.

So now I'm going to focus on the obvious science gaffes. (And there are many. Why does it appear red in the sky when it's heading toward Earth? This is a violation of the Doppler Effect.) By the way, I am a scientist and I could chronicle a myriad of scientific impossibilities in this movie. But I'll limit myself to the most glaring one. Melancholia is a planet that was hiding behind the Sun, has gone past Mercury and Venus and is now headed toward Earth. OK. I'm sorry, but this puts Melancholia between the Sun and the Earth. Knowing all of this, how is it they are able to see Melancholia at night? Think about it. Lars didn't.
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deborahwheatley26 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Saw the movie. Kept thinking I was missing "it". No, I wasn't. It was crap; rubbish. The poor actors really didn't have much to work with. The wedding took up half the movie. Ba-bow ! is my comment. Maybe Lars should stick to the happy endings, perhaps he does a better job with those. Long and boring; people walked out. Sorry, I wanted it to be good too; in fact I just thought it would be. Disappointing. I don't know about the two women having "issues", all of the characters had issues; unrelated boring ones. And poor Keifer had to be a pathetic stuffed shirt, then a gutless bastard when he disappeared to kill himself and leave his Mrs to (literally) cover up for him. Then she tries to run off herself but didn't make it so when she came back, told her sister how she wanted to be with her at the end (Liar) Hey, maybe I did get the movie after all. No, it was crap. Oh, and there were some really clunky bits in the filming.... Example: the moon and planet glare (like sun glare in photos) in the yard with the trees (2 blue dots in the grassy/tree area) an obvious oversight by everyone from the camera guy to the editor...... And the "wobbly" filming style just made it look amateurish and annoying. It was a B grade chick flick. God, I really didn't think much of this film did I. Again, sorry. Deborah
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Regardless of strange flaws It totally worked for me!
eskilmoehl31 May 2011
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 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.
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