Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Mar 21, 2014
    88
    The best part of Lars von Trier's fascinating, engaging and often didactic Nymphomaniac is that, despite the sometimes-grim tone and bleak color palate, it's an extremely funny film, playful, even.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 20, 2014
    88
    Seems calculated to shock, but what’s most disquieting about Nymph()maniac is how funny, tender, thoughtful, and truthful it is, even as it pushes into genuinely seamy aspects of onscreen sexuality. Obnoxious he may be, but von Trier knows how to burrow into our ids.
  3. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Mar 10, 2014
    83
    The most shocking thing about Nymphomaniac, with its cock-shot montages and frankly descriptive narration, is how flat-out funny it often is.
  4. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Dec 17, 2013
    83
    Nymphomaniac is indeed a major work that tries and, to a large extent, succeeds to organically synthesize the world, ideas and filmmaking savvy of von Trier in one sprawling and ambitious cinematic fable. Somewhat shockingly given the subject matter, the most stimulating material in Nymphomaniac isn't the explicit sex but how sexuality is discussed and understood.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 20, 2014
    80
    for those willing to go along with von Trier's typically in-your-face tactics, it's a good, if uncomfortable (and surprisingly funny), film. And the discomfort is part of what von Trier is after.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Mar 20, 2014
    80
    It provides, perhaps like the experiences of love and sex, a shifting variety of insights, emotions, unexpected lightness and moments of visceral shock.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 20, 2014
    80
    One of the strangest and least summarizable motion pictures ever made: tragic and hilarious, tightly constructed and miscellaneous.
  8. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Mar 18, 2014
    80
    If the off-kilter pleasures of Volume I is von Trier enticing us to watch the rest, consider me seduced.
  9. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Mar 10, 2014
    80
    So far, Nymphomaniac looks like a major work from a major director: a compendium of all von Trier’s career-long preoccupations with gender roles, authoritarianism, religion, obsessive behavior, and lust.
  10. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Feb 20, 2014
    80
    Nymphomaniac, which mainly plays out in the banal home-and-office settings you might expect from a 1970s porn shoot, is less drop-dead gorgeous than Antichrist but significantly more human.
  11. Reviewed by: Kate Stables
    Feb 18, 2014
    80
    With explicit sex and penetrating philosophy, this erotic odyssey requires close attention and an open mind.
  12. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Feb 17, 2014
    80
    A provocative, engrossing, often hilarious, frequently tough picture. Not for all sensibilities but it’s among von Trier’s more playful, purely entertaining films, with insight and humour in even the horrors.
  13. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Dec 17, 2013
    80
    There’s plenty of flesh (much of it belonging to porn doubles), although the film is rarely, if ever, what most people would call erotic or pornographic. It’s neither deeply serious nor totally insincere; hovering somewhere between the two, it creates its own mesmerising power.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 17, 2013
    80
    It is never boring and does provoke and stimulate, although not as a turn-on, not remotely.
  15. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Dec 17, 2013
    80
    Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac bludgeons the body and tenderises the soul. It is perplexing, preposterous and utterly fascinating.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 17, 2013
    80
    Racy subject aside, the film provides a good-humored yet serious-minded look at sexual self-liberation, thick with references to art, music, religion and literature, even as it pushes the envelope with footage of acts previously relegated to the sphere of pornography.
  17. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Mar 26, 2014
    78
    The filmmaker brings neither condescension nor moral outrage here. A father confessor to his benighted characters, von Trier may revel in the muck, but Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 is anything but a dirty movie.
  18. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Mar 21, 2014
    75
    Oddly though, the most shocking thing about the film is that it often prompts laughs.
  19. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    Easily the best scene of Nymphomaniac occurs in the first two hours, when Joe finds herself the other woman in a marriage breakup.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    A weirdly old-fashioned affair. If it weren't for the explicit sexual encounters, this could be an Ibsen or a Strindberg play, unclothed and unmoored from the late 19th or early 20th century.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    I refuse to render a final verdict on the latest cinematic outrage from Danish provocateur Lars Von Trier until Volume Two drops its undies on April 18th. But I will say this for Volume One: It's a mesmerizing mind game.
  22. Reviewed by: Ela Bittencourt
    Mar 16, 2014
    75
    But whereas female sexuality was borderline vampiric in Antichrist, this time we're in more ambiguous, contextually richer terrain, where desire is complicated not only by love, but also by a deep need for self-determination, and pride.
  23. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Mar 11, 2014
    75
    For a movie that features so much naked flesh, it’s surprising how thoroughly un-erotic Nymphomaniac is. If intent is a defining characteristic of pornography, then this could be described as “anti-porn.”
  24. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Mar 24, 2014
    70
    Like most porn, even art porn, Nymphomaniac falls apart at the end. Von trier even seems to be pranking the audience. But the director has at last created a genuine scandal -- a provocation worth talking about. [24 March 2014, p.84]
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Mar 21, 2014
    70
    It’s as if von Trier shot the main scenes while in one of his famous depressive funks, then edited the film in a more cheerful, impish mood. At times, the tantalizing mixture of sexual neurosis and wayward humor in this memoir of a woman of pleasure suggests a collision between "Fanny Hill" and "Annie Hall."
  26. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 20, 2014
    70
    You’re unlikely to turn away. The problem with aesthetic shocks is that their power can drain off and their original effects become harder to replicate, so we’ll just have to see what happens next.
  27. 70
    It’s both dumber and more entertaining than anyone had a right to expect.
  28. Reviewed by: Ben Brock
    Mar 20, 2014
    67
    Felt at times like a long-winded dirty joke – meandering, incoherently provocative, self-indulgent without being fun enough to make up for it.
  29. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 3, 2014
    63
    Presented as a stand-alone film, but without an explanation for the protagonist’s physical and emotional injuries, it’s a head-scratcher. As with Joe’s sexual compulsion, scratching can’t cure the itch.
  30. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Mar 20, 2014
    63
    It’s impossible to dismiss von Trier as merely a hype-monger. He’s too damnably good a filmmaker for that. Watching Nymphomaniac is to be reminded of his superb skills in creating vivid worlds and characters on screen.
  31. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 4, 2014
    60
    Vol. 1 functions reasonably well as a standalone film in its own right, playing out like a dose of mass therapy, an interesting, Von Trier-led sexploration of humankind's conflicted approach to sex: We love it, but we also fear it and are often thoroughly ashamed of it.
  32. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Mar 20, 2014
    50
    Nymphomaniac Part 1 grows flat and monotonous, and comes across as just what it is: half a film.
  33. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mar 20, 2014
    50
    For those who don't equate sexual appetite with the intricacies of fly fishing, Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1 is more tiresome than titillating.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 20, 2014
    40
    The movie commits the sin of boredom, partly because Ms. Martin is exceedingly inexpressive.
  35. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Mar 13, 2014
    40
    Occasionally, real dramatic scenes will spring from the loamy soil of von Trier’s free-wandering fantasy. But they’re isolated sketches, little one-act plays in the theater of degradation.
  36. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Mar 20, 2014
    38
    As in genuine porn, most of the acting (except for Skarsgard, who deliberately tries to be funny and sometimes succeeds) is as flat and uninteresting as the script — even when the older Joe narrates a montage of flaccid penises.
  37. 38
    Dull, carnal, and explicitly so in both regards, it’s a slow-moving slog through one crushed soul as she relates the empty, passionless pursuits of her youth.
  38. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Mar 11, 2014
    30
    Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 is the worst thing Lars Von Trier has ever associated himself with.
  39. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 20, 2014
    25
    Consists of long stretches of boredom, banal dialogue and contorted metaphors, interrupted by flashes of ugliness. See it if you want to be put off of sex for a month - longer if you're older, and perhaps for years if you're very young.
  40. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Mar 19, 2014
    25
    It's both exhausting and laughable in its eagerness to shock. That's the bad news. The worse news is that Volume II comes out next month.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Mar 20, 2014
    0
    Danish director Lars von Trier makes this tale of one woman’s banal sexual adventures into inadvertent comedy. The film makes an analogy between sex and fly-fishing — and fly-fishing comes off as more intriguing.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Mar 21, 2014
    9
    Nymphomaniac is more than "sex epic"; it is an intelligent, gripping and a rather intense masterpiece made brilliant by great writing and fantastic acting - blending humour and shocking moments in equal measure, but also being a smart and engaging experience as well. It does have its flaws, albeit minor; Shia LaBeouf's strange "British" accent and some odd casting changes in Volume II. This film is definitely NOT for everyone due to its incredibly raunchily and controversial nature and some jaw-droppingly shocking moments and also its length which some may consider to be overlong. But the film is definitely worth a watch, and is worth to be analysed as well. Full Review »
  2. Mar 30, 2014
    8
    Novo projeto de Lars Von Trier, diretor de “Dogville”, Ninfomaníaca é um filme de mais de 5 horas que comercialmente foi dividido em duas partes, eis que o primeiro volume chegou aos cinemas brasileiros. Seligman, um grisalho senhor encontra uma mulher ferida em um beco, Joe( interpretada por Charlotte Gainsbourg, atriz que também foi protagonista de “Anticristo”) e a leva para sua casa, onde depois de descansar ela começa a contar sua insólita história de compulsão sexual desde a tenra infância

    O filme, que chegou a ser anunciado como escrachada pornografia não tem nada de excitante. Von Trier não tem intenção alguma de virar o novo Buttman (legendário diretor pornô) mas sim de explorar os horizontes da sexualidade humana com a frieza de um profissional de mecatrônica. Números e gráficos invadem a tela em vários momentos, seja durante a perda da virgindade de Joe, seja no simples ato da baliza pra estacionar um carro. O sexo é visto como um ato mecânico, frio e racional ara a obtenção do prazer e ponto final. Em determinado momento Joe e suas amigas adolescentes criam uma “guerrilha contra o amor romântico” com hinos blasfemos e compromisso do sexo pelo sexo

    Joe cresce e vê seu hedonismo sexual enfrentando as primeiras rusgas com o mundo ao seu redor, seja no momento em que sua sexualidade colide com a instituição do casamento de uma rival, seja quando se vê confrontada com emoções humanas intimidadoras como o sofrimento pela perda iminente de um parente doente; sua resposta para qualquer sofrimento advindo desses dissabores é apenas mais sexo ainda, numa longa compensação que aparentemente resulta num longo arrependimento e auto-expiação na qual somos frustrados de descortinar, precisando aguardar até a segunda parte da história

    Von Trier é macaco velho, sabe como filmar bem sua história, extrair dos atores boas atuações e pontuar o enredo com diversas citações eruditas e imagens diversas na exposição de suas metáforas. Ainda que tais imagens ilustrativas “encham um pouco a linguiça” elas não chegam a comprometer o filme. O que incomoda um pouco é o ritmo claudicante e a contribuição discutível que algumas passagens dão à compreensão da personalidade de Joe, mas em meio a costumeira pasmaceira dos lançamentos pasteurizados do cinema americano esse filme do diretor dinamarquês vale uma boa conferida
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 28, 2014
    7
    I didn’t discover Lars von Trier until the tender age of twenty-two years old, and like so many others, it was all thanks to his shocking and highly controversial film Antichrist. In the midst of my growing cinematic knowledge, I became intrigued with von Trier’s body of work. Although I didn’t seem to have the stomach for the aforementioned film, I was curious and looked into his previous directorial efforts, like Manderlay and Dogville instead. Two years later, I got myself into the theatre and watched my very first von Trier film on the big screen, Melancholia. Even though my expectations for the film differed from the moment the film started, I knew I was experiencing something unique; a visceral film with hints of philosophical rants and raves, abstract imaging and a certain level of pretentiousness; unbeknownst to me at the time, the very ingredients to any good von Trier film. Fast forward another two years, and von Trier delivers his banned and highly provocative sexual epic; an oeuvre of bold claims, passionate sexual stylistics and raw sex, in two parts no less, that is not for the faint of heart.

    Nymphomaniac: Volume I is a work of fine erotic art by an artist you cannot help but despise. Since his ‘persona non grata’ status from the Cannes film festival, von Trier has embraced his newest label as his work continues to be hardened, tough to swallow cinematic narratives, and Nymphomaniac: Volume I is no different. He may be coy, deceptive, arrogant, and manipulative, but von Trier’s work is undeniably passionate, wrought, and full of daring visual feats and narrative brevity.

    The story begins, ends, and follows Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) von Trier’s faithful muse in what he has called to described his Depression Trilogy, being followed only by Antichrist and Melancholia. Like the two previous entries in his Depression Trilogy, our female protagonist is on a journey of transcendence. But unlike the two previous entries which force the protagonist through a journey of self discovery resulting from a fateful tragedy that has plagued their lives, Joe’s harsh adversities are brought on to her by herself, or rather as von Trier repeatedly puts it, by the strongest human force we may ever experience–our sexuality. The idea of the defined version of nymphomania is never mentioned in volume I, and rightly so, because volume one does not deal with von Trier’s obsession with rectifying political correctness. Instead, volume I serves as a diabolically sinister exploration of one young girl’s sexual identity. Lars von Trier may very well be the face of cinematic hypocrisy, usually contradicting himself, but in this film von Trier dabbles in various religions, just like throughout his own life. Catholicism, the Protestantism, and atheism, it seems that the only aspect of each religion that interests this director extraordinaire is the idea of sin. In any of his films, the concept of sin survives well beyond any religion, and volume I attests to the sins of a public few, and a sheltered many.

    We first find Joe (Gainsbourg) laying on the floor, in a position similar to Jesus Christ on the cross. Luckily for her, she is seen by Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home, offering her tea and a patient ear to hear how and why she ended up on the floor of an alleyway all battered and bruised. She explains that the way she got there begins the moment she was only two-years old and when she first discovered a fascination with her genitalia. An interesting observation to make clear is that, throughout the film, Joe seems to come from normal parents who suffer from some of the most common martial issues any couple could face; isolation, loneliness, falling out of love etc. Her father (Christian Slater) and mother (Connie Neilson) do not seem to share much together, other than a daughter and a home. Joe and her father spend hours upon hours walking through nature, looking for their ‘soul tree’ and passing through the history of nature and the importance of identity. Joe’s childhood is hypnotic and lucid, almost directly reflecting against the stark and bold future of her teenage years and callous adulthood. Throughout her youth and scenes with her father, we are sent through a dream; a dream of a little girl searching through innocence and righteousness, only finding a desire for pleasure and an orgasm.

    Once she reaches the age of fifteen, Joe knows that she is ready to lose her virginity and wants Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf) to take it. She explains that she knew that she wanted him to be her first based on his hands; hands that were strong, experienced and dirty. Joe never is or becomes fascinated with the simple and explained notions of attraction; her desires are to be picked up, dumped, and used over and over again. Joe finds no pleasure in love. This notion alone, told throughout her story and the beginnings of her nymphomania told to Seligman (Skarsgård), is something he finds troubling to understand.
    Full Review »