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10/10 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.4 years ago
1/10 This review MAY contains spoilers, yes. The movie itself DOES contain spoilers.4 years ago
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 He is banned from my play list too after I have been bored to tears one more time with outdated art-house tricks that have ceased to impress me in the last millennium.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.
8/10 Yesterday I had the chance to see Melancholia. I was a bit anxious given the mixed reception here (either euphoric or very negative).4 years ago
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.
Lars von Trier's Wagnerian opera of 2011 - the Ragnarok of western capitalism
5/10 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.4 years ago
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!
Powerful and meaningful if you've been there
10/10 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.4 years ago
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.