Melancholia

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6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 374 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 89 out of 374
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  1. Mar 18, 2012
    10
    Melancholia may very well be the greatest story about depression ever committed to film. It's profoundly moving, complex and well-performed. Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland make for a very impressive cast, with Dunst delivering the performance of her career. Who'd have thought an intimate analysis of the effects of crippling depression would effectively mesh withMelancholia may very well be the greatest story about depression ever committed to film. It's profoundly moving, complex and well-performed. Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland make for a very impressive cast, with Dunst delivering the performance of her career. Who'd have thought an intimate analysis of the effects of crippling depression would effectively mesh with a disaster movie? Ony such an unconventional director as Lars von Trier would even consider such a combination. A planet colliding with the Earth and humanity's ultimate doom makes for a great metaphor for crippling depression - feeling like the whole world is baring down on you, and that you're utterly isolated and helpless. It's a surprisingly effective thematic juxtaposition, that makes for an extremely intelligent and beautiful overall filmic experience. The film is equal parts epic and intimate, blockbuster and and arthouse, melodrama and realism. You have some great scenes if extreme contrast - the strikingly honest, observant scenes where Justine (Dunst) and her condition clash with the understanding and the patience of her wedding guests, and the utterly terrifying apocalyptic scenes of the film's finale where humanity faces its inevitable and utter destruction. The use of Wagner's layered, evocative music and the sparing but effective use of dazzling special effects also help to make the film utterly memorable. In the end, the tragedy of Melancholia is not its undeniably pessimistic ending, or the way in which it approaches its extremely dark subject matter, but the lack of recognition it will receive due to von Trier's Cannes outburst. Had he kept his thoughts to himself, the film would undoubtedly have been the runaway awards-winner of 2011. It should have been an instant classic, a film that will influence many generations to come, but what will be remembered is the director's misjudged and undeniably insensitive jokes about the Holocaust and Nazi affiliations. This is a real shame, because as a viewing experience, Melancholia will stay with you long after the film reaches its climax - it's an emotional, mesmerising, extremely well-written and utterly human experience. Expand
  2. Sep 2, 2012
    9
    This film is not going to be for everyone, but I loved it. From a crazy wedding party where hardly anything goes right, to the potential coming of the end of the world, it hooked and shook me like very few films have in recent years. It deals with the relationship of two sisters, played by Kirsten Dunst, in a career best performance, and Charlotte Gainsbourg who is also terrific. KieferThis film is not going to be for everyone, but I loved it. From a crazy wedding party where hardly anything goes right, to the potential coming of the end of the world, it hooked and shook me like very few films have in recent years. It deals with the relationship of two sisters, played by Kirsten Dunst, in a career best performance, and Charlotte Gainsbourg who is also terrific. Kiefer Sutherland is also very good as the husband of the latter. It's disturbing, beautiful, and emotionally resonant. It's not slow, but well paced. A Von Trier film will always be a bit polarizing. Personally I really disliked his previous film Antichrist, but I loved this. Expand
  3. Lyn
    Dec 26, 2011
    8
    The mood and imagery of this film have really stuck with me in the weeks since I saw it. I was a little disappointed in one of the plot twists, and also because I expected a somewhat more realistic treatment. (I guess I picture a real family interacting with other people and the media as the End of the World threatens, not having languid breakfasts on the patio.) Still, it was moving andThe mood and imagery of this film have really stuck with me in the weeks since I saw it. I was a little disappointed in one of the plot twists, and also because I expected a somewhat more realistic treatment. (I guess I picture a real family interacting with other people and the media as the End of the World threatens, not having languid breakfasts on the patio.) Still, it was moving and Dunst and Gainsbrough were great, even if they don't look like they could possible be related. Expand
  4. Mar 25, 2012
    9
    I'm reviewing this because I can't get it out of my head. There's something so haunting about an hour of "what is the point of this (even though it's kinda interesting)", to the next hour of overwhelmingly powerful unrelated intensity. I gotta see this again.
  5. Apr 1, 2012
    8
    Melancholia is not "movie for everybody," well it's Cannes movie. Lars Von Trier put depression and distraction on screen with amazing performance by Dunst and Gainsbourg. The first eight minutes was beautiful, entire movie was visually stunning.
  6. Dec 24, 2011
    8
    Wow, what can I say. Strange movie, but in a good way. The whole cast was excellent, even with some humor in the beginning although drowned in sadness, which turned out to be good in the end. Excellent shooting as well.
  7. Dec 31, 2011
    8
    Melancholia is a beautifully directed film of the depression of two sisters who are timorous of the planet Melancholia colliding the Earth; it was like watching a painting. This movie was art.
  8. Dec 22, 2011
    7
    Melancholia is something different and I can't always tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The movie is told in two parts and is a tale of two types of depression. We have Kirsten Dunst's character, Justine, who is depressed by every day life on earth and we have her sister Claire (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) who is depressed by the thought of death. The leads give strongMelancholia is something different and I can't always tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The movie is told in two parts and is a tale of two types of depression. We have Kirsten Dunst's character, Justine, who is depressed by every day life on earth and we have her sister Claire (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) who is depressed by the thought of death. The leads give strong performances and the film is supported by beautiful cinematography. Director Lars von Trier is good at creating an atmosphere of woe even in the midst of a wedding. However it is not a perfect movie. One little thing nagged at me throughout the film and that was the fact that Justine's entire family spoke with an English accent except for her. It's a small detail, I know, but it still distracted me throughout the movie. I also felt that the film fell short in providing much insight into Justine's depression. We knew she was depressed, but we never really saw the root of her depression and we never see an emotional journey or insight into her character. There isn't much depth to Claire's character either, but at least we know that she is depressed due to the possible end of the world. The movie can also be a little slow at times and I had to finish it in two sittings, but it still packs a fairly powerful punch and is worth the watch. Expand
  9. Jan 16, 2012
    10
    This is the best film I saw all year, and I go to the movies a lot. The first hour of the film (the wedding reception) is uncomfortable and even irritating to sit through. This is purposeful by the filmmaker. He even uses the "ever moving camera" technique that I wish filmmakers would stop using once and for all. I should not have to take a motion sick pill before going to a movie. WeThis is the best film I saw all year, and I go to the movies a lot. The first hour of the film (the wedding reception) is uncomfortable and even irritating to sit through. This is purposeful by the filmmaker. He even uses the "ever moving camera" technique that I wish filmmakers would stop using once and for all. I should not have to take a motion sick pill before going to a movie. We find out in the second half of the film, however, when it turns into a Science Fiction movie, why Justine (Kirsten Dunst) had such erratic behavior at her reception. The second half of the film is simply mesmerizing. Atmospheric, beautiful, scary, suspense building. Great visuals throughout the film - you will think about what you saw long after the film ends. Dunst is great in this film, but Charlotte Gainsbourg who plays her sister is equally wonderful. This film may not be mainstream enough to win awards at Oscar time, but it's not to be missed. I could write more about this great film, but I don't want to give anything away. Expand
  10. Dec 30, 2011
    10
    To me, Melancholia was like having a perfect slow cooked meal in great company --- that one enjoys while having but later on remembers with an even more delicious memory. It is beautifully filmed, slow, simmering, thought-provoking (especially after it is over). I rated it as my 8th best film of 2011, but as time went by it climbed to # 4. It is hard to explain its beauty and depth. ITo me, Melancholia was like having a perfect slow cooked meal in great company --- that one enjoys while having but later on remembers with an even more delicious memory. It is beautifully filmed, slow, simmering, thought-provoking (especially after it is over). I rated it as my 8th best film of 2011, but as time went by it climbed to # 4. It is hard to explain its beauty and depth. I still think of it often and plan to see it again. Expand
  11. Nov 11, 2011
    9
    Beautifully depressing, killed me in every possible way. I was touched by its sadness. Two unbelievable performances, Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg were incredible.
  12. Nov 13, 2011
    10
    This is a mesmerizing, raw, beautiful, damaging look at life just before death and the way different people accept their fate. It's not just your usual what if. Its long, unnerving but consistently sooo cinematic. Brilliance abounds for those who actually have an understanding and appreciation for the ART of filmmaking and are able to let themselves fall in and feel the impact of theThis is a mesmerizing, raw, beautiful, damaging look at life just before death and the way different people accept their fate. It's not just your usual what if. Its long, unnerving but consistently sooo cinematic. Brilliance abounds for those who actually have an understanding and appreciation for the ART of filmmaking and are able to let themselves fall in and feel the impact of the emotionally charged performances of Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainesbourg, and briefly John Hurt and Charlotte Rampling. If you have a movie lover's soul you will know after seeing this movie because you wont be able to get it out of your head, its that effecting!!! Expand
  13. Jan 9, 2012
    9
    A truly beautiful concoction from the ever-unstable mind of von Trier. The first five or so minutesof the movie say it all. Shot in exceptional light and scenery, Richard Wagner's prelude to Tristan und Isolde plays as characters flee, things burn, and Justine (Kirsten Dunst) seems as calm as ever. Very slow, and very inspiring. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't speed up any faster, as weA truly beautiful concoction from the ever-unstable mind of von Trier. The first five or so minutesof the movie say it all. Shot in exceptional light and scenery, Richard Wagner's prelude to Tristan und Isolde plays as characters flee, things burn, and Justine (Kirsten Dunst) seems as calm as ever. Very slow, and very inspiring. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't speed up any faster, as we have to bear through the worst wedding reception you may ever witness, leading to Justine's scandalous behavior on the golf course, her unemployment, and her immediate divorce. As Melancholia, the death-bearing planet, approaches, so too does Justine and her sister Claire's (Charlotte Gainsbourg) personalities grow, and finally, in a frightening, emotion-evoking, but tear-lacking ending, everyone incinerates at the approach of Melancholia. This may seem depressing, but to be honest, Justine was probably more depressing than anything else in the movie. And I mean that in a good way. Dunst definitely deserves her award at the Cannes Film Festival. This is definitely a movie worth watching. Warning, though; there is nudity. Collapse
  14. 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.
  15. Nov 13, 2011
    7
    Melancholia is a rightly titled spectacle that follows a family in the final days of human existence. Its a sweeping science fiction melodrama that I would probably find difficult to watch again, but remains a strong film due to its dense story telling and deep character studies. And deep those characters were; Gainsbourg and Sutherland played their complex roles with skill and precision.Melancholia is a rightly titled spectacle that follows a family in the final days of human existence. Its a sweeping science fiction melodrama that I would probably find difficult to watch again, but remains a strong film due to its dense story telling and deep character studies. And deep those characters were; Gainsbourg and Sutherland played their complex roles with skill and precision. And special applause to Kirsten Dunst who gives a powerhouse performance, it would be a shame if she does not receive some awards recognition this year, despite the atypical nature of the movie. This is simply a very good art-house film, that challenges its viewers. Expand
  16. Nov 11, 2011
    8
    This film will not suit every taste; however it is artfully done, haunting yet beautiful. Aptly named this film still remains with me. Kristen Dunst has never been better.
  17. Nov 12, 2011
    10
    An author writes what he knows. This definitely rings true for writer/director Lars von Trier, whose new film Melancholia deals with the personal issue of depression.
    While it is widely known that Von Trier has suffered from depression, Melancholia doesn't exploit the disturbing nature of the condition but rather presents us with a fascinating observation of how someone suffering from it
    An author writes what he knows. This definitely rings true for writer/director Lars von Trier, whose new film Melancholia deals with the personal issue of depression.
    While it is widely known that Von Trier has suffered from depression, Melancholia doesn't exploit the disturbing nature of the condition but rather presents us with a fascinating observation of how someone suffering from it faces the end of the world.
    The film opens with quite possibly the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing sequence of the year. For the first seven minutes of the film, all that is shown are highly stylized images of characters juxtaposed with the cosmos moving in slow motion. These glorious shots are accompanied by the operatic music of the famous composer Richard Wagner. The montage ends with a shot of the collision of Earth and a massive planet. While the thought of the end of the world is terrifying, Von Trier is somehow able to render it beautiful.
    After we watch the annihilation of Earth, the film splits into two parts, the first part titled "Justine." Justine (Kirsten Dunst) is a beautiful bride en route to her wedding reception with her new husband, Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). The reception, to which they are wildly late, is being held in the castle owned by Justine's sister and her husband. The couple appears happy, yet Justine is far from it. It takes everything to force a smile.
    Justine has been struggling with depression for a long time, and she hoped finally getting married to Michael would alleviate her problems. How anyone could be depressed when tying the knot with Alexander Skarsgård will probably remain a mystery to the women of the world, but Dunst's effortless performance makes Justine a realistic and tangible character.
    Justine's slow downward spiral on her wedding night is painful to watch, but entirely absorbing. At the end of part one, she notices a planet in the horizon that doesn't seem to belong there.
    Part two of the movie is called "Claire," after Justine's sister, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. It's revealed that what Justine saw on her wedding night is a massive rogue planet named "Melancholia." Claire fears that the planet is destined to collide with Earth, but her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland) assures her otherwise.
    As Claire struggles to deal with the possible end of the world, she must also care for Justine. Since her wedding night, Justine's depression has worsened to the point that she can barely eat, walk or talk.
    Through situational irony, the audience knows the fate of their world, yet it is still fascinating to watch these characters cope. In fact, Von Trier stated that he wanted to show the destruction of Earth at the start, so audiences would focus on the characters instead of their ultimate fate.
    With its stunning visuals, impressive acting and wonderful music, Melancholia is one of the best films of the year.
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  18. Dec 22, 2011
    10
    for 2 hours I really felt like the world was going to end. I have never been so fully enveloped by a movie before. Whatever this film may be, depressing, disturbing, emotional, beautiful, I'm glad that I watched it, and feel somehow changed by it.
  19. Nov 30, 2011
    9
    This movie is made for those who really enjoy watching a movie, is slow and heavy in many ways but shows you perfectly two different kinds of melancholia, really good photography work and great music, the story well is difficult to explain but all that i can say is that things happen when you don't expect to
  20. Nov 25, 2011
    9
    What a wonderfully bleak movie by Lars Von Trier. After his last feature Anti-Christ, which was underwhelming to say the least, he returns with a fighting punch with Melancholia, a "disaster" movie directed exactly how we expect a Lars Von Trier film to be - a beautifully rendered art film. The movie is written in two parts, part one titles "Justine" and the second titles "Claire". BothWhat a wonderfully bleak movie by Lars Von Trier. After his last feature Anti-Christ, which was underwhelming to say the least, he returns with a fighting punch with Melancholia, a "disaster" movie directed exactly how we expect a Lars Von Trier film to be - a beautifully rendered art film. The movie is written in two parts, part one titles "Justine" and the second titles "Claire". Both titles refer to the characters in the film, one played by Kirsten Dunst and the other Charlotte Gainsbourg. Both actresses are outstanding. A lot of praise has been given to Kirsten Dunst who won best actress at this years Cannes film festival, the role almost seems like a breakout role for the already well known actress, but it's Charlotte Gainsbourg who I believe gave the strongest performance, adding that extra heart and emotion to the film, and should also be strongly considered for award recognition this winter. The movie ties it's two parts perfectly, making a strong metaphor for unity. Two families brought together while two planets are about to collide. Melancholia is one the most depressing and beautiful films of the year. The ending will leave you gasping in shock and sadness and will remain engraved in your mind for days to come. Expand
  21. Dec 3, 2011
    8
    A portrayal of depression and sadness, which will stick with one for days. Performances are really strong (especially Kirsten Dunst and Charlote Gainsbourg), visual beautiful. While some might find it slow, when one is as depressed as Justine (Kirsten Dunst), time does not run.
  22. Jan 16, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Happy New Year Indeed

    It's the holiday season again, and with it comes the usual slate of talking-animal Christmas movies and lame rom-coms set on New Year's Eve. I feel it's my duty to counterbalance this overt cheerfulness with just a little bit of morbidity. So, to open 2012, I'm going with my favourite film of last year bar none: Lars von Trier's Melancholia, a film about a newlywed bride's severe depression and crumbling relationship with her caretaker sister. Sounds none too festive, right? It gets better. The story is set during the last days on Earth, before a foreign planet collides with ours and all life is obliterated forever. Yeah.

    Before anyone becomes too concerned with the end of the world, though, we are treated to Justine's (Kirsten Dunst) wedding, an extravagant affair paid for by her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Claire's husband John (Kiefer Sutherland). After everything that could go wrong does go wrong during the evening, Justine does not leave the party with her new husband (Alexander Skarsgard), but stays at Claire's castle where the reception took place. The next day, as John and son Leo (Cameron Spurr) become increasingly giddy at the chance for a firsthand glimpse of the planet expected to simply 'pass us by', Claire's anxiety peaks and Justine's depression consumes her.

    The film exists in two distinct parts: one covering the wedding night, and the other the aftermath. Surprisingly, Part One makes for such a well crafted, engaging story that the whole 'world is ending' angle almost seems like an unnecessary gimmick. It is an intriguing, intimate look into the mind-numbing array of family dynamics at play during what should be Justine's special night. Much of its brilliance must be credited to a tight script and, subsequently, the characterisation of the act's central figure. Rather than being lazily written as a 'woe-is-me' sad sack that finds no joy in the night's proceedings, Justine draws audience sympathy nice and early through her efforts to make the best of things despite the social disaster unravelling around her. One gets the impression that she does have a genuine love for some people, but the vexing truth is that, in spite of the seemingly significant ramifications of this night, things are about to get far more sinister. We know this because von Trier leaves the viewer in no doubt as to how this film will end. The opening act is an incredible collection of surreal scenes depicting the Earth's destruction, set to the chilling prelude to opera Tristan und Isolde. So when Claire's fears are temporarily relieved towards the end of the film, it feels devilishly cruel to lead on this fearful individual when the audience is already aware of what is still to come. Put simply, it could be said that Part One is the cinematic masterclass, with heavy emphasis being placed on all things that make a quality film (beautiful imagery, well-structured dialogue and purposeful character interaction) while Part Two is the thematically charged intellectual piece, where the audience is not spoon-fed, but rather challenged to find personal meaning in the events unfolding on screen.

    Certainly, by the time the second half comes around, the security blanket separating caged fiction from terrifying reality has well and truly been removed. In the morning after the wedding, the world has become a much darker place, in both a literal and metaphysical sense. Justine's condition has degraded from a person battling with flashes of doom, to one that has become sedate and eerily calm in her total submission to the illness. In contrast, Claire, who has lived a balanced, comfortable life up until this point according to universal standards (big house, married, young son, et al), and who therefore has so much more to live for, refuses to accept the inevitable. It is through this polarising pair of characters that Melancholia offers the foundation of many different interpretations regarding the film's true meaning. Personally, it appears to be not only an exposition of universal perception and understanding one's significance in the context of all things, but also an assertion of how human beings might act in times of inescapable disaster. It begs the question: 'How do you think you would react in this situation?' But perhaps more importantly: 'How would you like to react?' This notion is hammered home when, in the film's heart-pounding and visually spectacular closing moments, the seemingly soulless Justine still finds time for one last act of utterly selfless heroism, even in the face of certain death.

    *There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on jnatsis@iprimus.com.au and let me know what you thought of my review.*
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  23. Feb 27, 2012
    9
    As with all of Von Trier's work saying his films are an acquired taste is rather an understatement. However, I disagree with the public conception that his films are wholly pretentious and without meaning, because more often than not they are full of meaning. Having followed Trier's career vaguely with interest other recent years, his most interesting films to note have been the muddlingAs with all of Von Trier's work saying his films are an acquired taste is rather an understatement. However, I disagree with the public conception that his films are wholly pretentious and without meaning, because more often than not they are full of meaning. Having followed Trier's career vaguely with interest other recent years, his most interesting films to note have been the muddling Dancer In The Dark and the unsettling Anti-Christ. Neither film was awful, yet Von Trier persists- as he does here- to enforce upon the viewer a unpleasing pacing for all of his films. Melancholia is no different. It's build up in following the disaster of Dunst's wedding merely pads the films with material and not a lot of plot. However, this can be overlooked if we view what the feature actually is inherently: a character piece. Fans of Anti-Christ will be with mixed views about this feature, as it resonates in similar themes and motifs, but that is not to say that in viewing Anti-Christ, then the beauty of Melancholia will be damaged somehow. Ultimately, Gainsbourg and Dunst would have been worthy candidates for Oscar nominations, but still this is not mainstream circuit material. The cinematography is indisputably incredible, as is this features score, but what shines best with this feature, even with its mass of flaws (and there are many) is that what is being conveyed here- though the metaphor is rather heavy-handed- works incredibly well. As a piece of science-fiction drama comparisons can be made to The Fountain, but whilst that film spends much of its time jumping over three timelines, there is enough here in continuity and anguish to deliver an emotional impact that is just as meaningful. Between this and Drive, I would have to say Melancholia edges it slightly due to the formers over-simplistic, though beautifully told tale, whilst Melancholia yearns to be revisited, making it in my eyes the best film of the year. Expand
  24. Dec 3, 2011
    9
    While being an extremely slow and long film, Melancholia is an extremely effective film as well. The basic premise is that a planet is colliding with Earth, and the events preceding the collision are portrayed through the disturbed lives of two sisters, played by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Both performances are nothing less than spectacular. They have a very controlled qualityWhile being an extremely slow and long film, Melancholia is an extremely effective film as well. The basic premise is that a planet is colliding with Earth, and the events preceding the collision are portrayed through the disturbed lives of two sisters, played by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Both performances are nothing less than spectacular. They have a very controlled quality to themselves, very reminiscent of Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" or Annette Bening in "The Kids are All Right." The supporting cast is also rather good, especially the bitterness-filled mother of the two sisters, as is Gainsbourgh's husband, played by Keifer Sutherland. Visually, the film is stunningly beautiful, with interesting, beautiful cinematography. The score is perfectly appropriate to the apocalyptic doom-feel of the film. What is truly remarkable, though, is the way that von Trier lays out the idea of how the end of the world, or just death for that matter, can be truly beautiful and something to embrace and (ironically) "live to the fullest," if the time is right. The psychological switch that happens between the two sisters is interesting, but remains ultimately within their characters' inner psyche, without actually diverging too far from the first part of the film. Kirsten Dunst gives an excellent portrayal of depression and the realisation of imminent death, and its acceptance in a rather calm, rational manner. Charlotte Gainsbourg, on the other hand, shows the attempt to cover the inner restlessness, fear and hopelessness with the veneer of rationality, but ultimately failing. As the end of the world approaches, Dunst is the one that keeps her head high, looks straight death in the eye, while Gainsbourg fidgets around missing the ultimate beauty of her death, and in association, her own life. Expand
  25. Nov 13, 2011
    10
    The movie begins with the wedding party of Justine(Kirsten Dunst)and Michael(Alexander Skarsgard)arranged by her sister Claire(Charlotte Gainsbourg).But what could have been a perfect party becomes an absurd evening due to the increasing depression symptoms of Justine.Meanwhile a planet threatens to collide into the earth. Although this movie is surely the most accessible among the moviesThe movie begins with the wedding party of Justine(Kirsten Dunst)and Michael(Alexander Skarsgard)arranged by her sister Claire(Charlotte Gainsbourg).But what could have been a perfect party becomes an absurd evening due to the increasing depression symptoms of Justine.Meanwhile a planet threatens to collide into the earth. Although this movie is surely the most accessible among the movies by Von Trier,some audiences will find it boring and meaningless due to the slowly pace of the movie and its controversial subject.But I think this is one of the best movies of the year with remarkable performances and a beautiful story of characters that makes you feel every inner turmoil.It's not a predictable portrait of emotions that are often bad portrayed in other movies of mental illness and fear.So if you expect dynamic don't watch it.Von Trier is a master and I am sorry for his bad reputation of egomaniac and daring director of movies made only for narrow audience.But nobody can deny that he is one of the most original and fascinating director out there."Melancholia" is a stunning and captivating movie,impossible to forget.I dare to say it's art because there are some poetical moments and moving scenes that are overwhelming.It's almost perfect.The Wagner music elevate this powerful experience.This movie is occasionally too meaningful to be caught by some people who will find it difficult but unique.The acting is absolutely great.Kirsten Dunst is terrific in her complex role.She proved she is an A-level young actress and her win at the last Cannes film festival is completely deserved.An Oscar nomination would be a must for the Academy although I fear that they will snub her in favor of more stereotyped performances and due to the lack of a big studio behind it.Charlotte Gainsbourg is amazing as well even if her role is less showy.The supporting cast(Kiefer Sutherland,Charlotte Rampling,John Hurt and Stellan Skarsgard)is equally great.My vote of the movie is 8/10. Expand
  26. Nov 16, 2011
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An odd thing happened to me on my way out of the theater last night after seeing "Melancholia." Suddenly, the movie, which I'd been mixed at best about, began to seem like a terrific set of jokes, most of them slyly, cunningly visual. Suddenly, this art film about depression and the end of the world, with its upscale country-estate visuals and high-minded Wagnerian soundtrack, became lowdown laugh-out-loud funny. "And what was up, anyway, with that dress the bride's mother wore?" I asked my viewing companion. "Didn't it look more like a tie-dyed teeshirt?" Pretty soon we were both giggling and guffawing. "In fact, weren't all the dresses sort of tacky?" "Melancholia" begins with a gorgeous, expensive wedding party from hell, the lovely bride who's been functioning up until now in cheerful, productive denial collapsing into total depression in the midst of friends' and family's selfishness and bad behavior. Both her parents make horrible, hostile speeches; her boss (also the best man) fires her after she tells him what she really thinks of him; the cute, babyish groom goes home with his parents after she rejects him sexually. Every guest -- not to speak of the wedding planner -- has his or her moment of meanness, rudeness, or stupidity. But there's no sense that any of these characters have a shared history. Absent a believable social nexus, there can be no social satire: vintage Von Trier, the wedding scenes roll by as misjointed episodes of inappropriate behavior and jittery camera. Nor is anyone on screen the kind of upscale movie rich person you can have fun feeling superior to even as you enjoy looking at them. No one except the clueless groom even looks that good; the nut-case bride, Justine, becomes increasingly oppressed by a silly, puffed-up, unbecoming, and ever more crushed and wilting gown. For me the wedding was a long meandering frustration, much less fun than I kept expecting it to be. So I was glad (though not optimistic) when Part II -- shot much more serenely -- began. Some time has passed at the lush country estate (it belongs to Justine's sister Claire's rich husband). Justine's mental condition has continued to deteriorate; Claire's taking care of her. There are some intimate domestic scenes and lovely landscapes, sugesting that perhaps even an awful wedding isn't the end of the world. But wait, it IS the end of the world. A newly-discovered planet called Melancholia is making its way toward Earth. Scientists don't foresee a collision, just a fantastic cosmic show for amateur astronomers. But we who have seen the movie's opening montage know differently and so does Justine, whose depression has put her in tune with the big engines of destruction. Pretty soon, of course, everybody can do the math or simply observe the rogue planet looming larger, ever more gorgeously visible even during the day. Claire becomes as overwrought as I (and I'm guessing you) would be, while Justine begins to flourish. In a particularly stunning night scene with the Liebestod theme on the soundtrack, she reclines naked on a riverbank; bathed in Melancholia's deathly light, she's as open to ravishment by her own and everyone else's oncoming death as she was shut off from sex with her young husband. None of this is exactly profound, but it was effective and I enjoyed it. Neither Justine nor Claire is given any genuine depth of character or specificity of motivation (Justine's the crazy one, Claire's reasonably adjusted to what seems a more-or-less typically imperfect life, except with a lot more money). But in the face of imminent annihilation their words, actions, and expressions are freakishly recognizeable. I was particularly moved by Charlotte Gainsbourgh's Claire, clutching at her young son, making hysterical, futile attempts to escape to somewhere, do SOMETHING. While as for Justine's wilder side of the equation: my natural tendancy is to respond with annoyance, even to take offence, at any romanticization of death; my guess is that lots of depressives would be just as terrified by the prospect of the world coming to an end as the rest of us; and don't even get me started about Wagnerian mysticism. But for all that, I have to confess I found Big Oblivion as Von Trier delivers it in the final scenes to be big sublime fun, and terrific to look at. A nasty, narcissistic streak runs through it, of course: the adolescent fantasy of being in touch with big destructive forces, and of taking everybody less sensitive than you with you when you go. Von Trier knows this, I think. His two-sisters structure is a way of identifying with Justine but not entirely. The movie has it both ways and so did I. And so does anyone emerging safe and sound from the theater, the deferred humor from the wedding scene bursting forth to break the tension, sending you into gales of helpless laughter, after the apocalypse, later, out there on the staircase. Expand
  27. Nov 13, 2011
    7
    I did not understand why this movie has been shot with English spoken actors.
    Movie is completely European, made by Europeans, (I think) shot in Europe, so was that necessary to put a little American sauce in?
    Besides, it was cool...
  28. Nov 15, 2011
    8
    Some say that this is the most sensitive film by Lars von Trier (and who attribute it to a certain "maturity from the director"), a filmmaker who is famous for hype (which I love). Perhaps because it has been this strange feeling of contentment and discontent. Each of the leading film is meticulously disguised, which leads to two paths: Lars wanted to communicate something through actsSome say that this is the most sensitive film by Lars von Trier (and who attribute it to a certain "maturity from the director"), a filmmaker who is famous for hype (which I love). Perhaps because it has been this strange feeling of contentment and discontent. Each of the leading film is meticulously disguised, which leads to two paths: Lars wanted to communicate something through acts apparently trivial or these acts were banal alone and nothing else? I believe the first guess, since the director's job has always followed this line. Would Justine's father be a humanized version of God? One to whom all turn when they need, but isnâ Expand
  29. Nov 16, 2011
    8
    i'm a little nonplussed by the reviewers who scorn this movie for being self-indulgent and depressive. it's a LARS VON TRIER film titled MELANCHOLIA. His bjork film dancer in the dark was one of the saddest films I've ever seen and it had a positive name. As goes Kirsten Dunst's best line in this film: what did you expect?
    Me, i thought it was an occasionally excessive but sometimes
    i'm a little nonplussed by the reviewers who scorn this movie for being self-indulgent and depressive. it's a LARS VON TRIER film titled MELANCHOLIA. His bjork film dancer in the dark was one of the saddest films I've ever seen and it had a positive name. As goes Kirsten Dunst's best line in this film: what did you expect?
    Me, i thought it was an occasionally excessive but sometimes wonderfully weird and self-indulgent movie, often actually humorous (in the painful von trier way) and offering some interesting dualities to consider between the attitudes of depression and pragmatism (as represented by the two lead actresses), and in which situations these attitudes are more helpful. It even rewarded a second watching.
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  30. Nov 16, 2011
    9
    It's pretty impressive that Lars Von Trier always manages to make movies that are always controversial among both critics and the audience. Melancholia is certainly one of them. We see death as a main topic here; depression, dysfunctional families, wedding... Some might say it is dark, long and slow. And in fact they are right. However, weirdly this makes you feel every damn emotion it theIt's pretty impressive that Lars Von Trier always manages to make movies that are always controversial among both critics and the audience. Melancholia is certainly one of them. We see death as a main topic here; depression, dysfunctional families, wedding... Some might say it is dark, long and slow. And in fact they are right. However, weirdly this makes you feel every damn emotion it the picture, you almost feel like you're a part of the movie. That's why Melancholia is a success for the director. With is multi dimensional script, great acting and moving visuals (the opening scene) it is one of the best movies of the year. Expand
  31. Jun 4, 2012
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Didn't know what to expect as I hadn't read much about this, other than that it was "weird". First 20 minutes were hard going - and confusing - but it grew on me and I really enjoyed it at the end. Sutherland's demise didn't sit right with me, though. That seemed a bit of a cop out. Expand
  32. Apr 15, 2012
    10
    beautiful movie. but i understand why people are giving such low rating, because it is just so slow (like glacially slow). but if you look past the tempo you'll see the amazing acting by Kirsten Dunst and the beautiful cinematography. in the end the movie is just a giant metaphor for depression, just when you think it's gone it comes back and hits you harder than before. it's the kind ofbeautiful movie. but i understand why people are giving such low rating, because it is just so slow (like glacially slow). but if you look past the tempo you'll see the amazing acting by Kirsten Dunst and the beautiful cinematography. in the end the movie is just a giant metaphor for depression, just when you think it's gone it comes back and hits you harder than before. it's the kind of movie that stays with you long after seeing it, you'll have different theories to why things happened the way they did and each time you think about it you'll come up with different explanations. overall amazing movie, 9.9/10. Expand
  33. j30
    Apr 23, 2012
    7
    Great performances all around particularly the two leads Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I found the movie both thought-provoking and beautiful to look at. If you don't like art-house type film (where the emphasis is on style not story) this is not your kind of movie, but if you do you will be rewarded.
  34. Jun 3, 2012
    10
    I don't know how to not give it a 10, instantly became one of my favorite films. This movie is bleak and beautiful at the same time, made almost entirely of detestable characters. It still buggles me how von Trier made all these elements work - but he did. Dunst is truly amazing on this one.
  35. Nov 13, 2011
    8
    An extremely intense film in its latter half, and a fun and funny film in its first. Kirsten Dunst is getting all the award season hype for her role, but she's not even close to being the best actor in this movie. The always-great Charlotte Gainsbourg eats her lunch in just about every scene they're in together. I appreciate what Dunst does with the role, but hey, she apparently hadAn extremely intense film in its latter half, and a fun and funny film in its first. Kirsten Dunst is getting all the award season hype for her role, but she's not even close to being the best actor in this movie. The always-great Charlotte Gainsbourg eats her lunch in just about every scene they're in together. I appreciate what Dunst does with the role, but hey, she apparently had much on which to draw from in her personal life, so I have a feeling it wasn't a huge stretch for her - which was great casting by Trier and company. Kiefer is excellent, and Eric Northman is good in his brief but effect performance. The Wagner score is absolutely terrific. And the sense of impending doom over the last 30 minutes or so is palpable. I can see this being talked about for years to come - for many reasons. Expand
  36. Nov 12, 2011
    10
    one word: beautiful. depressing, convulsive but penetrative. Love Dunst, Gainsbourg and Trier is really a great director. Melancholia is a state of mind.
  37. Mar 15, 2012
    10
    An amazing movie! I found the film, to be very real. It felt like a documentry. As I watched the 2nd act of the movie, it felt like watching the characters final moments. The movie was slow, but yet intresting. I had a feeling of being there. Excellent!
  38. Jan 6, 2015
    9
    Agreed. Weirdly wonderful. Beautifully strange. Loved it. You will read polarizing reviews about this film, and they are all acceptable reactions, but the movie, as a technical and theatrical piece, is a winner.
  39. Dec 23, 2011
    8
    It is the acting that saves the movie. Had it been the story alone carrying it... it really would be a fail. This film is one of those that makes you sleepy and encourages you to become awake for you are expecting a good turnaround or bang! And as more minutes pass waiting for that bang... you end saying "oh, well".
  40. Jul 17, 2014
    9
    Melancholia is one of the most unique films I've ever seen. The acting, the emotion, the characters, the depth, the symbolism, the art style, the score, etc. Almost every element of this film is executed to perfection and sucks you into the events taking place. The only real negative was the camera work. The shaky-cam felt unnecessary and at times took away from the viewing experience,Melancholia is one of the most unique films I've ever seen. The acting, the emotion, the characters, the depth, the symbolism, the art style, the score, etc. Almost every element of this film is executed to perfection and sucks you into the events taking place. The only real negative was the camera work. The shaky-cam felt unnecessary and at times took away from the viewing experience, breaking the immersion of the movie. Other than that, this was simply a work of art that is tough to explain in words. I am certain that most people won't be able to become absorbed into the film. It's a strange movie and incredibly slow moving. Honestly, 75% of people will probably quit watching before the intro, which was so long it makes James Bond intros feel brief. Nonetheless, if you can sit through the various quirks, especially early on, you'll become intrigued and anxiously await the film's conclusion. Lars von Trier truly does a brilliant job. Expand
  41. Aug 28, 2012
    10
    An insightful psychological study under interesting conditions, the ending blew me away. The soundtrack is a huge part of the experience, and the ending leaves a lasting impression that was incredible from the front rows of a small theater. I got chills just now thinking about it. In a way, the whole study is a build-up to the last minute.
  42. Jan 31, 2012
    10
    Really, my favorite movie of all time. A masterpiece of the "crazy" Lars Von Trier... The soundtrack completely gave the movie another dimension (if I count the dimensions of the movie I would say: 6D)! This movie has only one big problem: you will whether love it or hate it! I, as you already know, LOVED IT! So, I can't recommend because there is a 50% chance you won't like it.
  43. Feb 11, 2012
    10
    MELANCHOLIA: PROVOCATIVE

    GIVE IT A TRY IF... You have survived at least one of von Trierâ
  44. Feb 15, 2012
    7
    Agree with the reviewer linking this to the Tree of Life. I would assume the connection is tongue in cheek as Von Trier doesn't seem like the type to mess with Romanticism without a little giggle.
  45. Mar 6, 2012
    10
    Buena pelicula, buenas actuaciones, lars es un gran director y sabe colocar al espectador ene la atmosfera de la pelicula, recomendada para cualquier tipo de espectador, niños, adultos.
    El final tragico y doloros no podia ser mejor.
  46. Mar 19, 2012
    9
    Who would have thought that a movie about the end of the world could be so beautiful. This movie is beautifully shot and well written. And Kirsten Dunst delivered a performance that deserved Oscar recognition. Lars von Trier has created one of the best films of the year with this.
  47. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    With such powerful beauty, the film leaves you with much more than "melancholia"; just as, Kirsten Dunst gives you the most profound performance of her career.
  48. Mar 24, 2012
    10
    I was excited to see this, what an utter disappointment. Tedious ,unbearably void of substance, and unbelievable characters are the highlights of this film. While I can see where the director was going with this, he fell quite a bit short.
  49. Dec 18, 2012
    7
    A powerful indie film, that can be quite difficult to watch, but is really fascinating, spectacularly shot, and very well acted. This isn't a film to sit back and enjoy, but to think about once the credits role up.
  50. Apr 9, 2012
    10
    Brilliant. A Lars von Trier masterpiece. You will never be the same after experiencing Melancholia. This is a once in a decade film, an instant classic.
  51. Apr 23, 2012
    8
    Gorgeously shot, with scenes drenched in golds and whites and blues, depending on the scene. Attention to detail was incredible; during the catastrophic wedding reception scene, there is a tiny fleck of wedding cake on Kirsten's bottom lip, and it was left there for several minutes. Kirsten's earring was left on the bed, also for the entire scene. Details like that bring an air ofGorgeously shot, with scenes drenched in golds and whites and blues, depending on the scene. Attention to detail was incredible; during the catastrophic wedding reception scene, there is a tiny fleck of wedding cake on Kirsten's bottom lip, and it was left there for several minutes. Kirsten's earring was left on the bed, also for the entire scene. Details like that bring an air of reality and surreality to this sci-fi-premised exploration of depression. One scene with Kirsten's character sitting and around stacks of chairs, alone, dangling her shoes from her feet, is all that superb film-making is about.

    For anyone who has fallen down the dark well of sadness, they should be able to relate without effort.

    Great film.
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  52. Aug 18, 2013
    8
    Beautiful and ultimately extremely depressing Melancholia perfectly paints the picture of one sister's depression and ultimate acceptance with the end of the world. The film after it's beautiful and sad musical intro starts of as seemingly happy and at some times with moments of laughter. As the film continues you see the depression of Justine unravel and you have her sister who perfectlyBeautiful and ultimately extremely depressing Melancholia perfectly paints the picture of one sister's depression and ultimate acceptance with the end of the world. The film after it's beautiful and sad musical intro starts of as seemingly happy and at some times with moments of laughter. As the film continues you see the depression of Justine unravel and you have her sister who perfectly contrasts this view of the world. Simply said there isn't another movie that perfectly creates an atmosphere of sadness and depression. Expand
  53. Dec 7, 2012
    7
    Lars von Trier certainly makes it hard to review films...I have no idea what to give this. I really like it! Elements in this were absolutely brilliant, but it doesn't make the film any less strange. Gainsbourg gives another fantastic performance, but Kirsten Dunst shines.
  54. May 9, 2013
    10
    it's been a year since i first watched MELANCHOLIA. it is still one of the greatest films i've ever seen. kirsten dunst is as beautifully magnificent. the setting and cinematography still astonish. my favorite apocalyptic film of all time.
  55. May 14, 2013
    7
    I like that in the movie not the apocalypse is in the foreground, but the events around it.
    the movie is very long and the story takes a long time until it gets interesting, but the movie is worth to be seen.
  56. Jun 25, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have to say I didn't like this movie the first time I watched it. I missed the first 10 minutes of the movie which turned out to be pretty important. I watched it a second time with my husband it helps to talk about it while it's playing (since it is pretty slow) and it is a very thought provoking movie. It's amazing the different versions of the story I've been reading from this board to me, it deals with Kirsten's character's depression and her sister, Claire, being the one I identified with the most, as being the nurturing sister, caring for her sister while she is debilitated with depression, and wanting to protect her son at all cost. But I now see the beginning as being Kirsten's dream or vision. I'm assuming she has had visions before, so this is why she is reacting with depression at her wedding reception because she saw the same red star that night that she had in her dream and realized this was going to happen. Nothing can shake her because she knows it's going to happen, even when her brother-in-law says it isn't. In the end I realized Kirsten's character actually had more time to deal with it, while her sister wanted to believe her husband and realized on the last day that he was wrong. She was more believable I thought. One thing that bugged me as it did to one other person on this board her sister had an English accent while Kirsten's character did not how could that be? Oh well, details, details. It was definitely a very interesting film. Expand
  57. Dec 24, 2013
    7
    This movie is not meant to be beautiful, great, entertaining or just even decent. If you are expecting a "spider man" or a "Avatar" then yes, don't waste 2 precious hours of your time! You don't get the movie? That's fine, you probably never had black periods in your life and again, that's fine. But if instead you are open-minded enough to watch it and just take it for what it is notThis movie is not meant to be beautiful, great, entertaining or just even decent. If you are expecting a "spider man" or a "Avatar" then yes, don't waste 2 precious hours of your time! You don't get the movie? That's fine, you probably never had black periods in your life and again, that's fine. But if instead you are open-minded enough to watch it and just take it for what it is not trying to over analyze it but just let be driven by the scenes, you will find this movie inspiring and potentially life changing. Funny how people's perception is different from each others, it was very clear to me since the beginning the metaphor about modern life, yes, depression, darkness, apathy, evocation of "terminal feeling" regarding human's existence, It all felt familiar and annoying.
    Finally, you might get bored at some point but once per all this is not The Lord of the rings, is a humble movie that certainly succeed in what has been made for make you aware.
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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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.