Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 17, 2011
    100
    Leave it to von Trier to conceive an intergalactic sci-fi metaphor for a psychological disorder – and then make it work so astonishingly well.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 11, 2011
    100
    A ravishing, emotional and often very funny film about a wedding gone wrong, the end of the world and a woman suffering from profound depression.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 10, 2011
    100
    Firmly rooted in the filmmaker's esoteric, frustrating, provoking, demanding narrative style, the movie is also amazingly romantic - lush, ripe, rich, delicious.
  4. 100
    The vision is as hateful as it is hate-filled, but the fusion of form and content is so perfect that it borders on the sublime.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 25, 2011
    100
    Melancholia hovers in ambiguity with riveting aesthetic prowess.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 24, 2011
    100
    For all the tyrannical disdain he's shown other filmmakers over the years, von Trier once again demonstrates a mastery of classical technique, extracting incredibly strong performances from his cast while serving up a sturdy blend of fly-on-the-wall naturalism and jaw-dropping visual effects.
  7. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 19, 2011
    100
    A movie masterpiece...is Lars von Trier's ecstatic magnum opus on the themes of depression, cataclysm, and the way the world might end.
  8. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Sep 26, 2011
    100
    Von Trier is a burr under the hide for many viewers, and the unconverted won't be convinced. But it's audacious, beautiful, tactful filmmaking and perhaps the perfect match for "The Tree Of Life" on a bipolar double bill.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Nov 10, 2011
    95
    The actresses' performances intertwine beautifully, like twin climbing vines vying for the attention of the sun.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 1, 2011
    90
    Melancholia is an intense, exhausting experience. That may not sound appealing, and for some, it won't be. But nor should it be off-putting. Proceed with caution, perhaps. But proceed nevertheless.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 10, 2011
    90
    Its true subject is melancholia as a spiritual state, a destroyer of happiness that emerges from its hiding place behind the sun, just like the menacing planet, then holds the heroine, Justine, in its unyielding grip and gives Ms. Dunst the unlikely occasion for a dazzling performance.
  12. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 10, 2011
    90
    Melancholia is emphatically not what anyone would call a feel-good movie, and yet it nonetheless leaves behind a glow of aesthetic satisfaction.
  13. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Oct 25, 2011
    90
    Plenty of moments in Melancholia are painfully funny. Some moments are even painful to watch, but there was never a moment when I thought about the time or my next movie or did not care about the characters or had anything less than complete interest in what was happening on the screen.
  14. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Nov 23, 2011
    89
    Dunst's performance is a thing of calm beauty and mired grit, fully deserving of the Best Actress Award she received for this work at Cannes. The entire supporting cast also proves to be a delight, even in their obstinacy and oddities.
  15. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Nov 11, 2011
    88
    Nutty Danish provocateur Lars von Trier -- long one of the most annoying filmmakers on the planet -- turns out one of the year's most emotionally resonant art movies.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 10, 2011
    88
    Von Trier draws us inexorably into the web of these characters. He loses us in a dream of his own devising. That's filmmaking. Now if he'd only learn to shut up at press conferences.
  17. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 10, 2011
    88
    Much of Melancholia plays, effectively, like a slice of late 20th century Dogme-style realism, in the vein of the film "Celebration" by von Trier's fellow Dane, Thomas Vinterberg.
  18. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 9, 2011
    88
    If I were choosing a director to make a film about the end of the world, von Trier the gloomy Dane might be my first choice. The only other name that comes to mind is Werner Herzog's. Both understand that at such a time silly little romantic subplots take on a vast irrelevance.
  19. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 20, 2011
    88
    Melancholia is a remarkable mood piece with visuals to die for (excuse the pun), and a performance from Dunst that runs the color spectrum of emotions.
  20. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Nov 9, 2011
    83
    The grand concept is really just a vehicle for a more intimate study of depression and its dangerous, shifting polarities.
  21. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Nov 10, 2011
    80
    For stretches of the film, von Trieria is as welcome as Siberia. You must stay to the end for a potent payoff, when the tragic magic of the opening scenes is reasserted.
  22. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Nov 10, 2011
    80
    Apocalyptic visions are nothing new in cinema, but they're almost always epic in scale; Von Trier's innovation is to peer down the large end of the telescope, observing the end of the world in painfully intimate terms.
  23. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 8, 2011
    80
    It is during Melancholia's second half, after a ruinous conclusion to the wedding, that the real magic happens, with our heroine hardened into a wry, cynical Cassandra - the voice of Von Trier himself.
  24. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Oct 31, 2011
    80
    Von Trier's latest fable is nothing without its blaze of majesty - or, as his detractors would say, its bombast.
  25. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 1, 2011
    75
    The experience of psychological depression has been described with a variety of metaphors. William Styron called it "darkness visible," and Winston Churchill euphemized his bouts as "the black dog." In typically grandiose fashion, though, Lars von Trier tops them all.
  26. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 17, 2011
    75
    As von Trier's ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy, Melancholia is a broodingly downbeat self-portrait but also the inspiring work of an artist of seemingly boundless imaginative power.
  27. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Nov 10, 2011
    75
    All that's deliberate, but the lingering question is not: Is Melancholia a sly depiction of the end we deserve, or simply a lovely load of bombast? Be prepared to choose one or the other; unless there's an extra moon in tonight's sky, it can't be both.
  28. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nov 11, 2011
    70
    And yet - and yet - there's something about the solemn, gloomy, often overwhelmingly powerful experience of watching Melancholia. I'll give it this much: This is a hard movie to forget.
  29. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 12, 2011
    67
    Dunst gives a strong, hard-bitten performance even though she is playing an attitude rather than a character. Much of Justine's upsets are recorded in Von Trier's shaky-cam style – seasick realism. The grand planet-busting finale, though, is a beauty.
  30. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 22, 2011
    63
    Like a newborn planet, Melancholia is magnetically beautiful, but it's also an unformed mass of hot air.
  31. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 8, 2011
    63
    Melancholia represents von Trier at his best and worst. Visually and thematically, Melancholia is a rich motion picture, full of nuances. Unfortunately, in his pursuit of an artistic vision, von Trier has thrown logic, physics, and coherence out the window.
  32. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 10, 2011
    60
    Lars von Trier's end-of-days drama Melancholia feels as if it's something from another world...but even by his standards this remote yet lovely funereal dirge is in its own orbit.
  33. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 10, 2011
    50
    If only Lars von Trier took into account that audiences might actually want to enjoy Melancholia, rather than endure it, or sift through it, or submit to the director's will, he might have made something extraordinary.
  34. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Nov 10, 2011
    50
    Nearly everyone in this film is unlikeable, their actions inexplicable. And the pace is so lugubrious that it's hard not to succumb to Justine's glum mood.
  35. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 10, 2011
    50
    Watching Melancholia is like being stuck next to a brilliant depressive at a dinner party. The food is exquisite, the conversation scintillating, and the longer you sit there the more trapped you feel in another man's all-encompassing gloom.
  36. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Sep 26, 2011
    50
    The poetic, referential succession of near-still images that opens the film so immaculately distills Melancholia's moody narrative and themes that it makes the two-hours-plus that follow seem impossibly redundant.
  37. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 17, 2012
    40
    This is not a feel-good movie. This is the frigid, hard-to-embrace cinematic opposite of a feel-good movie, in fact -- all wrapped in one long, dark metaphor for depression.
  38. Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
    Oct 25, 2011
    40
    The second half, though, simply descends into chaotic banality as the sisters await their fate.
  39. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 30, 2011
    25
    By the time Melancholia finally crawls to its conclusion, his (von Trier) round orb in the sky isn't as depressing as the rectangular screen.
  40. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 8, 2011
    0
    Melancholia is his latest pile of undiluted drivel, nauseatingly filmed by a wonky hand-held camera and featuring a crazy, mismatched ensemble headed by Kirsten Dunst, who won an acting award in Cannes last year for looking totally catatonic.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 295 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 92
  2. Negative: 22 out of 92
  1. Nov 12, 2011
    10
    Weird Weird Weird. Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful. It all begins to make sense towards the end so all the questions and confusion of the beginning makes sense. If you are patient enough and curious enough you will be greatly rewarded. Make time for the movie. Understand that it will be great. You only get to see such a movie maybe only once a decade. Full Review »
  2. Nov 14, 2011
    0
    Unbearably tedious, pretentious crap. You may 'enjoy' it, or relate to it if you suffer from depression, but otherwise steer well clear. This is 2 hours of sheer nothingness. Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2011
    6
    Rare movie did not understand the conecccion wedding with the rest frame of the movie, though was very good work, I felt I was seeing the tree of life 2 .... but the third part of the movie left me stunned, scared, wrapped in despair that he shared with Claire ... cheers for Dunst and Gainsbourg were fantastic, great. Full Review »