Melancholia (5/5/12)

MelancholiaMovie One Hundred Eleven

Melancholia is a film by polarizing filmmaker Lars Von Trier about two sisters and their relationship as a planet hurtles toward Earth.

The film opens with several super slow motion shots of some of the events to come, including the planet, Melancholia, from space. The movie then begins with the incredibly lavish wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) who acts, for lack of a better word, strangely. She notices a red star in the sky and her sister’s husband (Kiefer Sutherland) says it’s Antares. The next day the star is missing from the sky. The second half of the film focuses on the other sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and how the family deals with Melancholia, each in vastly different ways.

I am pleased that I was able to give a brief summary of Melancholia without giving much away in terms of the plot. If you have seen Von Trier’s last film, Antichrist, you may be aware at how obtuse and plodding his films can be and Melancholia is a bit more structured, but still esoteric. Now, this is not a bad film. In fact, it’s a visually stunning film for the most part. Where Melancholia (and Antichrist before it) fail, is in some of the character design. While I was never completely miffed by some of their actions, there were times when I had a hard time believing them.

The underlying message of Melancholia, if you can call it that, is depression. Justine is obviously depressed, almost comatose in the second half, and her central character is not one I identified with. I enjoyed watching Melancholia, but I would have a hard time recommending it. Melancholia has some very beautiful and interesting scenes and when it ended my mind lingered on it, but I would doubtfully ever watch it again.

I give it 3 lightning fingers out of 5.

PS – My wife and I watched this during the Supermoon for a little added “oomph”

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