Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 293 Ratings

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  • Summary: In this beautiful movie about the end of the world, Justine and Michael are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire, and brother-in-law John. Despite Claire's best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

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. Expand
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 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
  4. 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...
    Expand
  5. Mar 17, 2012
    6
    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
  6. Feb 11, 2013
    4
    I did'nt mind that it was dark, bordering on morose. After Dancer in the Dark, I expected that from Mr Von Trier. And I like dark films. What annoyed me was it was so banal. Please will someone tell me the thematic subtext buried in here? The best I can come up with: Depressed people will handle the possible end of the world with a more calm and dignified response. I watched on DVD, and required 2 sessions to complete the ordeal. It was however *quite* pretty visually, and Kirsten Dunst was good. Expand
  7. Apr 1, 2013
    0
    I created an account on metacritic solely to warn you all of how utterly unbearable this film is. Why all these accredited actors chose to indulge the danish nutbar in his latest extravaganza is beyond me. nauseating camera angles, nonsensical lines and pretentious but awful humor all amount to an underwhelming finale. I have never seen a more overrated film in my life and this has shaken my faith in aggregate sites like metacritic. save yourself the two hours. Expand

See all 92 User Reviews

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