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Generally favorable reviews- based on 301 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 301

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  1. Apr 15, 2012
    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 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
  2. BKM
    Apr 9, 2012
    I'll say this about Melancholia: it's not like anything else I've ever seen--which is not necessarily a good thing. The film's depiction of depression feels alarmingly real as does its vision of the end of the world as we know it. But the the annoyingly tepid pace and startling pretentiousness of it all make you want to bludgeon yourself to death. Strictly a film for Von Trier devotees.
  3. Apr 9, 2012
    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.
  4. Apr 1, 2012
    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.
  5. Mar 25, 2012
    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.
  6. Mar 24, 2012
    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.
  7. Mar 19, 2012
    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.
  8. Mar 18, 2012
    Some of the most beautiful visuals I have ever seen, but what starts as an interesting idea falls to pieces about 20 minutes into the film - mostly thanks to the craziness of miss Dunst. I'm not sure it was her acting or her annoying character that turned me off, but either way, I think I only enjoyed the parts of this film where she died.
  9. Mar 18, 2012
    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 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
  10. Mar 17, 2012
    It's not supposed to be taken literally, it's all metaphor, the internal life of people, including the subconscious, sociological and collective unconscious reality. It's a portrayal of the whole human psyche, the characters are just symbolic aspects of human 'mindness' and don't even necessarily represent individual humans but various 'personas' within an individual. It is not science fiction, it is a psycho-sociological symbolistic portrayal of melancholia in it's true form of 'mind'. In that sense it is also elitist (i.e contains real depth and insight) and will go over the heads of the vast majority (even those who enjoyed it), nevertheless I wouldn't go see this movie if you have no idea of what I'm taking about (or if your depressed). Expand
  11. Mar 15, 2012
    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!
  12. Mar 10, 2012
    Melancholia is not a strong enough word to describe this film. I would call it depressing. And while Kirsten Dunst delivers a very strong performance, the film is really slow and boring especially in the first part. Part 2 is much better with more context and allegories but moreso a platform for the viewer to connect to the characters. The final scene is the highlight of the film but the journey there is almost not worth the trouble. Expand
  13. Mar 6, 2012
    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.
  14. Mar 3, 2012
    Melancholia tells two slightly related stories, which mix drama, surrealism and sci-fi, the problem is that the only interesting part is the ending. It is a shame that such an original idea goes to the garbage, because of erratic performances, repetitive soundtrack, ill-defined script and overthink direction.
    The division of the plot is based on the different points of view towards a
    specific situation of the two protagonists. The first part is about the wedding of Justine; here the human relationships are like a pendulum, in other words they are going nowhere. This fragment not even serves for establish the personality of Justine, because in the next part are fewer thing that are understandable. So in conclusion: if Lars Von Trier cut down this part it would not matter.
    The second half is about Claire, which is a more believable character, because is the only one that really seams human; but again the plot falls into a circle.
    This is the first film in years that I wanted to advance some parts because I was falling asleep. Dark, slow, depressing and extremely boring, Melancholia fails in almost everything.
  15. Feb 27, 2012
    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 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
  16. Feb 15, 2012
    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.
  17. Feb 11, 2012

    GIVE IT A TRY IF... You have survived at least one of von Trierâ
  18. Jan 31, 2012
    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.
  19. Jan 16, 2012
    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. 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
  20. Jan 16, 2012
    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 and let me know what you thought of my review.*
  21. Jan 14, 2012
    Give me a break! This film actually scores well with the critics? The movie is self indulgent trash. I personally just can't stand movies that are so weird that it leads to some critics thinking, "I got to love it to prove how good I am as a critic." When it's bad, it's bad. Seriously, there are people out there who want to see this film again after the first viewing?
  22. Jan 9, 2012
    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 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. Expand
  23. Jan 7, 2012
    No. No. No. Critical acclaim-itis has struck again. This movie tanked with me from nearly the moment that I rented it on pay per view. I thought the premise was Another Earth-ish enough to justify a watch, but I was sincerely wrong. This movie is a hot mess. Even the end will never be as powerful as what has been committed to film previously. See Last Night, a 1998 film about the apocalypse, instead. It's a far better movie.

    I gave this film a 2 simply because I felt like the subject was a worthy one, even if the execution was sorely lacking.
  24. Dec 31, 2011
    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.
  25. Dec 30, 2011
    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. I still think of it often and plan to see it again. Expand
  26. Dec 28, 2011
    What a pretentious, long, boring and empty movie. Another "style over substance" film. I found the Kirstin Dunst character very annoying, and the plot was disjointed and incoherent. By the time I was halfway into the movie, I was actually hoping the fictional planet would wipe out all of the characters involved.
    This movie is LONG AND DRAGGY. I actually walked out, and I almost never do
    that for a movie I paid money to see. Expand
  27. Lyn
    Dec 26, 2011
    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 and Dunst and Gainsbrough were great, even if they don't look like they could possible be related. Expand
  28. Dec 24, 2011
    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.
  29. Dec 23, 2011
    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".
  30. Dec 22, 2011
    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.

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
    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
    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
    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.