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
    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
    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
    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
    Melancholia hovers in ambiguity with riveting aesthetic prowess.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 24, 2011
    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
    A movie 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
    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
    The actresses' performances intertwine beautifully, like twin climbing vines vying for the attention of the sun.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 1, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    The grand concept is really just a vehicle for a more intimate study of depression and its dangerous, shifting polarities.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 297 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 93
  2. Negative: 22 out of 93
  1. Nov 12, 2011
    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
    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
    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 »