Review: Melancholia

The final straw for me.

The final straw for what, you may ask? For Lars Von Trier films. Kirsten Dunst has been one of my favorite actresses since I was a kid. She always had all the cool roles in my eyes. Even though a lot of her films were geared towards teens, she still had acting chops to go with them. See: Interview with a Vampire, The Devil's Arithmetic. So When She won the Best Actress prize at Cannes, I decided to put my dislike for Von Trier aside and check out her performance.

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) has just gotten married to passive Michael (Alexander Skarsgard, a far cry from the brooding Eric Northman on True Blood that I'm used to.) Her sister Claire (Charolette Gainsbourgh) and her husband John (Keifer Sutherland) have thrown them a massive reception at their home. Justin and Claire's relationship is strained to say the least. Justine is battling severe depression, and Claire is trying to help her through it. Meanwhile, a planet named Melancholia has been hiding behind the sun (yep) and is now hurtling towards earth. John says it will be a "fly by." Claire grows more paranoid and panicky the closer the planet gets. Although it's never quite explained why these sister's both have different accents. One American, the other British.

At least Von Trier admitted he didn't look at the possibility of Melancholia scientifically. He wanted it for merely a metaphor. A back drop. His direction is still overly pretentious and he still goes out of his way to try to be too "arty." The slow motion opening sequence was so ridiculous I had to fast forward it. (Thanks, VOD, it looked better in sped up mode too.) The classical music score was too up front and didn't blend with the film at all, it just added to it's ego, so to speak.  The most beautiful moments were when the camera was just taking in the scene. Those subtle moments that Von Trier probably didn't intend to be the best parts. They were. When he's so up front with with his colors and music is when his direction is the worst. In my opinion, anyways.

The sad part about all of this? Dunst gives the best performance of her career. She's brilliant, and Gainsbourgh is right behind her. These two ladies were heartbreaking and really captured the essence of depression and paranoia, even though Dunst's character constantly walked the line between sad and downright annoying. It's a shame that two great performances have to be hampered down with pretentious directing.

Recommended: No/Yes. I want to recommend the film for Dunst's performance, but the directing style is not for me. Not for me at all.

Grade: C

Memorable Quote:


  1. wow, the best performance of her career? even better than her wonderful and underrated performance in All Good Things? I need to check this out. thanks for the review!

  2. I remember your doubts about watching this film. Lars von Trier's direction is arty indeed but Kirsten and Charlotte were great.


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