#1  
Old 11-11-2011, 04:01 PM
Melancholia

In the very beginning of Melancholia" we become aware of the imminent end of the earth. "The Tree of Life" depicts the creation of the earth, while "Melancholia" the end.

The narrative (in two parts) follows two sisters Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). It's evident during Justine's wedding that she suffers mental depression, while her sister is somewhat grounded.


The title of the film tells us a lot about the story. On the one hand, it's the name of the planet heading towards earth, and on the other, a description of Justine's mental state. At the wedding reception think of "Rachael Getting Married". And by the end we see a personality change in both sisters. I imagine the message is how we react at the point of death.


I'm not sure what genre you put the film under. It's far from your Hollywood sci-fi and disaster films. I'll just refer to it as Lars von Trier-ism. You either love him or hate him, as most do with Mel Gibson.


The film has it's flaws, but if you accept the planet theory you will witness some beautiful special effects and amazing acting, with Ms. Dunst offering her best performance, to date. The other cast members such as: Kiefer Sutherland Charlotte Rampling (mother) are also good.

I just wish directors would stop with these hand-held shaky cameras.


4/5 stars


Jack
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2011, 02:23 PM
Beautiful film. I'm still relatively new to the films of Lars Von Trier but this one blew me away. I knew from the opening scene, involving a montage of surreal images, I was in for something unique. Props to Kirsten Dunst for possibly the best performance of her career. Having personally known a few people suffering with depression I can safely say she nailed it; it was hard to watch her descent at times. Charlotte Gainsbourg was likewise brilliant in the role of Justine's sister and we also see an evolution in her character. The moment she realizes the weight of their situation, when her emotion gets the better of her, she truly shines. It was also great to see John Hurt and Kiefer Sutherland's appearances.

I can see this being a divisive film. Those who are familiar with Von Trier should probably already be aware of this. It's a "slow" moving film and not a straight-up sci-fi/disaster flick. The film is heavy in mood, imagery and dialogue. It's divided into two parts, each encompassing a separate sister, and we get to see the focus shift off of Justine for a bit in the latter half. I love how the planet Melancholia is a symbol for depression. It also makes me wonder whether Justine is actually pyschic of impending doom, hence the depression. The last scene of the film in particular is very powerful and is still haunting me. Overall it's an interesting and different film experience.

Recommended.

9/10
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2011, 03:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWF View Post
In the very beginning of Melancholia" we become aware of the imminent end of the earth. "The Tree of Life" depicts the creation of the earth, while "Melancholia" the end.

The narrative (in two parts) follows two sisters Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). It's evident during Justine's wedding that she suffers mental depression, while her sister is somewhat grounded.


The title of the film tells us a lot about the story. On the one hand, it's the name of the planet heading towards earth, and on the other, a description of Justine's mental state. At the wedding reception think of "Rachael Getting Married". And by the end we see a personality change in both sisters. I imagine the message is how we react at the point of death.


I'm not sure what genre you put the film under. It's far from your Hollywood sci-fi and disaster films. I'll just refer to it as Lars von Trier-ism. You either love him or hate him, as most do with Mel Gibson.


The film has it's flaws, but if you accept the planet theory you will witness some beautiful special effects and amazing acting, with Ms. Dunst offering her best performance, to date. The other cast members such as: Kiefer Sutherland Charlotte Rampling (mother) are also good.

I just wish directors would stop with these hand-held shaky cameras.


4/5 stars


Jack
great movie saw it yesterday.......great scene when the gravity of earth and melencholia contradict and waterdrops instead of falling start rising up........and also the end when theres water everywhere and the two planets collide......gave me chills......after watching 2012 gave quite a different expression of how the world may end.........gud story and carried out well.......
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2011, 12:15 PM
One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Thankfully I watched online.

2/10
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2011, 01:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jz68 View Post
One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Thankfully I watched online.

2/10
I can't help but feel this is part of the reason you disliked it as much as you did. Lars Von Trier is known for his exceptional visuals. So watching a movie of his online is like sabotaging his primary skills.

It's like viewing a masterpiece painting through beer goggles lol. What didn't you like about it specifically?
I haven't seen it yet, so I want to hear a different viewpoint on it
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2011, 02:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScaryFreak1827 View Post
It also makes me wonder whether Justine is actually pyschic of impending doom, hence the depression.
9/10
Nothing I'm about to say spoils anything in particular, but for those wanting to stay away from small plot details and scene info, I'll put spoiler tags on this...

Spoiler:
I had the same interpretation about Justine. She had some kind of psychic ability (I remember how one of her family member states that the women in her family "just know things"). I thought that this was the reason for her intense descent during the wedding and into the beginning of the second half. She knows Melancholia is coming and everyone is doomed.

I think she starts to accept it more as the second half goes on. I was initially puzzled by the scene where Justine lay naked staring up at Melancholia. I just thought it was weird and bizarre for weird's sake. But having discussed and thought about this, I now interpret that scene as symbolising Justine's acceptance of her fate. Whereas her sister is more comfortable in denial, pretending everything's okay. Which is why Dunst is so harsh on her later on in the film (trying to snap her back into reality).


I saw this is at the Wellington Film Festival earlier in the year and it has lingered long in the memory. Look forward to seeing it again ASAP. It's a thought-provoking and very beautiful film. The opening and closing were especially haunting.
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  #7  
Old 11-15-2011, 06:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMovie View Post
I can't help but feel this is part of the reason you disliked it as much as you did. Lars Von Trier is known for his exceptional visuals. So watching a movie of his online is like sabotaging his primary skills.

It's like viewing a masterpiece painting through beer goggles lol. What didn't you like about it specifically?
I haven't seen it yet, so I want to hear a different viewpoint on it
... coupled with the fact that Von Trier is a very polarizing filmmaker to begin with.
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2011, 07:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoojib127 View Post
... coupled with the fact that Von Trier is a very polarizing filmmaker to begin with.
True... But I didn't think Melancholia was going to be as extreme as Antichrist. A lot of people dislike the extreme nature of his films.

I'm not saying it's not possible to not like a Lars Von Trier film for any other reason... Obviously there'll be plenty of criticism. But I'm curious to hear those criticisms, as I stated in my original post.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2011, 08:01 PM
Surely watching the film over the internet would lessen its effect. This is the kind of movie that was made to see in the cinema. I mean, just look at the opening and closing sequences. Also, it's so carefully observed, that you really have to pay attention. Watching it online or at home around distractions, I'm not convinced that you could get the full experience of the movie. I'm so glad I saw it in the cinema.
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2011, 09:58 PM
I saw a very good, HD quality copy. The only interesting thing about this was the first 5 and last 5 minutes.
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2011, 05:32 PM
The nature of depression and despair, the nature of Melancholia, is decidedly personal. Everyone's life consists of varying environmental and social elements, all of which play a part in forming our identities and our personalities. Everyone knows what it means to be sad, and many know what it means to move beyond sadness and into depression. A legitimate and far too common mental disorder, depression has plagued many individuals, perhaps more that you might expect. Depression can cripple your entire existence.

Few films I have seen better depict and examine the nature of depression, the way it affects our relationships with others, and the way outside elements can affect our mental being. Divided into two startlingly different parts - the first an almost real time depiction of a wedding party that draws elements from director Lars Von Trier's Dogme 95 movement; the second a work of science fiction that draws comparison to Tarkovsy and perhaps even Kubrick - Melancholia focuses on two sisters, Justine and Claire. Von Trier, a filmmaker who demands to be called an auteur, has made much of his career by placing women on film in demanding and damning positions. His last film, Antichrist, placed Charlotte Gainsbourg (who plays Claire here) through what is essentially torture. The torture in Melancholia is of the psychological variety, but it makes no less of an impact.

The way the two parts of the film play off of each other is brilliant and challenges the notion of what can be accomplished in narrative filmmaking. Beginning with a visually stunning prologue that hints at what is to come and set to Wagner's prelude from Tristan and Isolde (a classical piece of music used often in this film), Von Trier is careful to set up our expectations without giving his hand away too early. This is a film that plays with grand ideas in order to tell an intimate story. The end of the world is literally at stake but Von Trier is more interested in the sisters, and so are we.

As Justine Kirsten Dunst gives the performance of a lifetime and her depiction of a deeply depressed woman is perhaps as convincing as I have seen. Dunst is utterly exposed here (in more ways than one) and she delivers a tour de force performance that I frankly did not know she was capable of. Her ever cracking exterior leads to complete numbness and then an odd state of comfort and enlightenment as her sister, beautifully played by Gainsbourg, begins to fall into the same depressive traps. But Claire's succumbing to these traps are more directly related to the impending danger of the planet Melancholia and its course towards Earth. Claire is reacting to a specific moment and an impending danger, despite the best efforts of her husband (a wonderful Kiefer Sutherland), whereas Justine's depression stems from the lunacy and disgust of her family (John Hurt and Charlotte Rampling are the parents) and her co-workers (Stellan Skarsgard, Brady Corbet), and not even a grand wedding party and a marriage to the perfect man (Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan's son) can help her heal.

This is a slow film and one that will be polarizing. It is utterly nihilistic and deeply sad, and moves at a slow pace. But it is a film that has the ability to profoundly move an audience if they let themselves over to it. It is visually stunning and perhaps the best film Lars Von Trier has made, and it demands to be seen.

Last edited by SpikeDurden; 12-15-2011 at 11:03 PM..
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2011, 12:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jz68 View Post
I saw a very good, HD quality copy. The only interesting thing about this was the first 5 and last 5 minutes.
I thought the opening was kinda reminiscent of the opening of Miikes Dead or Alive, which I think was a better sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZJOn1O6IsQ (NSFW)
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  #13  
Old 11-26-2011, 01:44 AM
Just saw it today. I loved it. Out of all of Lars Von Triers films, this seems to be his most focused and important work yet.
The characters were interesting, the cinematography was excellent, the beginning and the ending were both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. I can't wait for this on Blu-Ray

Kirsten Dunst may have put on her best act yet. But that isn't to suggest that the rest of the cast wasn't stellar.
Everyone did a great job on this one. Everyone.

9/10
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  #14  
Old 11-29-2011, 12:35 PM
The film is full of many interesting ideas; the imagery is stunningly beautiful and the acting is superb. However, by the end you don't get the sense that any of it is really adding up to anything, and the irreconcilable disconnect between the two halves of the film is extremely detracting. I thought the first half was really quite fascinating in its exploration of this intricate family dynamic; but the second half was focused too much on the planet and didn't provide enough context as to its connection to the first half - how much time has passed since the wedding? What is wrong with Dunst's character? Incredible performances from Dunst and Gainsbourg, though. Interesting stuff, but not Lars' best.

7/10.
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:11 AM
A beautiful film with captivating performances about depression and the approach of the end.

8/10
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  #16  
Old 04-08-2012, 06:27 PM
Honestly, I'm being really apprehensive about watching this film. Von Trier's films usually leave me feeling like complete shit or utterly exhausted at their conclusion. I'm open to films that challenge the viewer, yet it almost feels like your being abused as an audience member while watching a Von Trier film. Anti-Christ tried way too hard to push the envelope for shocking and contoversial filmmaking and I'm not really looking forward to a Von Trier film about depression. That's almost like being a masochist as a movie fan.
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  #17  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
Honestly, I'm being really apprehensive about watching this film. Von Trier's films usually leave me feeling like complete shit or utterly exhausted at their conclusion. I'm open to films that challenge the viewer, yet it almost feels like your being abused as an audience member while watching a Von Trier film. Anti-Christ tried way too hard to push the envelope for shocking and contoversial filmmaking and I'm not really looking forward to a Von Trier film about depression. That's almost like being a masochist as a movie fan.
No need to worry here. The film is visual in portions but it is not overly so. The film also doesn't try to be too shocking or controversial, at least in my opinion. I'd give it a shot.
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  #18  
Old 04-18-2012, 03:25 AM
Melancholia

Just saw it. I had to watch it twice. I think this is a masterpiece. It is poignantly beautiful and Kirsten Dunst a perfect angel of death.
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  #19  
Old 04-24-2012, 09:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
Honestly, I'm being really apprehensive about watching this film. Von Trier's films usually leave me feeling like complete shit or utterly exhausted at their conclusion. I'm open to films that challenge the viewer, yet it almost feels like your being abused as an audience member while watching a Von Trier film. Anti-Christ tried way too hard to push the envelope for shocking and contoversial filmmaking and I'm not really looking forward to a Von Trier film about depression. That's almost like being a masochist as a movie fan.
The only way the movie is disturbing is in its constant nagging reminder to the viewer that you are going to die. It is sort of existentially disturbing, but nothing beyond that.
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  #20  
Old 08-14-2012, 11:17 PM
My favorite film of 2011. I saw it at a SAG screening here in Los Angeles, and Kirstin Dunst did a Q&A after it was over. Seeing it on the big screen is as necessary as seeing 2001 or Lawrence of Arabia in the same way - the impact of the film is completely different than if you see it at home (and please don't watch this - or any movie - on a computer screen).

Fortunately, with Blu-Ray and bigger plasma screens, one can come close in the home. It's highly unlikely this masterpiece will be re-released in a theater anytime soon.
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  #21  
Old 10-07-2012, 03:02 AM
I think there is a different level to Melancholia than one simply of depression and death, and great movies are made up of different levels. In the dvd interview Von Trier notes that he is melancholy, and describes melancholy not as a condition but a way of looking at things coming from experiences of life.

In part one Justine is a successful ad woman. She is planted in a life expecting her to get married, to have the party that is occurring arranged by her sister. There is the image of being dragged by vines that is shown in the first images of the movie and which she speaks of in part one. Her father leaves her despite he cry for help, and her mother says marriage is a poor event, especially a marriage of her daughter. Everything cries for Justine not to live the life she is allotted. But even after separating from her husband, she can not leave the location - the horse will not take across the bridge. She is trapped.

Part two she is in depression. The life she is in provides no reward and no motivation. The meatloaf tastes like ash. Then, from behind the sun (like her true person from behind a staged personality) comes Melancholia. As Melancholia comes closer, Justine strengthens. Her sister, becoming more face to face with this Melancholia, begins to disintegrate. This is the sister Justine loves but who holds her there, who forced the wedding party - perhaps a side of Justine herself on the metaphorical level? Note that people are with the ones they love most in these situations, and there are no parents, just Justine, the sister, and the child. Even the sister's husband has left, alone in his own death with his horses. Then, as Melancholia strikes, Justine is strongest while the sister is weakest.

There is a lot of similarity to the use of planets here as in 2001 A Space Odyssey, and the pace is similar to that of The Shining. 2001 was about rebirth - I think this one is too.
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