Friday, January 27, 2012

Film Review: Melancholia

Happy Friday everyone! Having some nasty weather in Boston today. Speaking of which, any of you Bostonites bummed about the lack of snow this winter season? Because I am…

A couple nights ago Dennis, Jim, and I watched Melancholia directed by Lars Von Trier. It stars Kirsten Dunst as the lead role, Charlotte Gainsbourg, who also plays a nasty Jane Eyre circa '96, Alexander Skarsgard, from True Blood (le sigh,) and Kiefer Sutherland. INCREDIBLE cast, no?!

About two month ago, Dennis went to San Francisco to visit a close friend, and they saw Melancholia together. He came back home and basically said that he needed to see it again and that I needed to see it with him. And let me tell you, this film probably makes my top 10 favorite films of-all-time list.

The basic gist of the film is that there is a planet, named Melancholia by researchers and scientists, that is doing a “fly by,” except it ends up crashing into Earth and destroying humankind. Okay, I know, sounds a little morbid, but it’s not really. There is a ridiculous amount of character development, the acting is impeccable, and the cinematography is probably some of the best I’ve seen. The film is more about how the characters deal with the possibility of instant death and the world ending as we know it. I’m not a huge Kirsten Dunst fan, but boy, did she hit this one out of the ballpark. She plays a young woman struggling with serious clinical depression, who can hardly take care of herself. Her sister, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is the stronghold of the family and the maternal figure. The film is divided into two halves. The first half is from Justine’s (Kirsten Dunst) point and the second half is from Claire’s point. The film displays symbolism between the two planets and the two sisters, rather than focusing on the actual catastrophic event that the film is centered around. It was also created by the director because of his own struggles with clinical depression and psychiatric problems.

Taken from Cannes Festival Interview/Article by Andrew O’Hehir:

“Trier told us during the press conference that ‘Melancholia’ is ‘not so much a film about the end of the world as a film about a state of mind,’ and I think that’s right. Still, he wants us to know what happens in ‘Claire,’ the final section of the film, before we get to it, and we learn the ultimate fate of the Earth in a brief, haunting prelude before we even get to the wedding scenes. His first shot, in fact, is a stunner, a close-up of Dunst’s face looking as stricken and depressed as a beautiful face can, with birds falling from the sky all around her. I won’t say more about that right now, except to quote Trier on his own philosophy: ‘Sometimes we see a film to find out how it ends, and I object to that. Do we go to a James Bond film and think there’s a chance he may not survive? You can know what happens and still not know how it happens, or still hope that you are mistaken and that it might not happen, and that is interesting to me.”

Before viewing this film and researching more about it, I didn’t know much about Lars Von Trier, the Danish director. After viewing Melancholia, I will definitely be putting his other flicks on my Netflix.

I HIGHLY recommend this film to absolutely anyone. Although it is from a more artistic standpoint, it does have an easy-to-understand and linear plot. Please go see it, and let me know what you thought!


I am Megan said...

This sounds like a good movie, but it will probably only show in South Africa next year.

Amber Rose, Laughing With Broken Eyes said...

I've been hoping to see this film for a while now-- I'm really hoping that it goes on Netflix instant soon.


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