Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 98 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Mar 21, 2014
    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: Kate Stables
    Feb 18, 2014
    With explicit sex and penetrating philosophy, this erotic odyssey requires close attention and an open mind.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Mar 20, 2014
    It provides, perhaps like the experiences of love and sex, a shifting variety of insights, emotions, unexpected lightness and moments of visceral shock.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 20, 2014
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 20, 2014
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 4, 2014
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Mar 20, 2014
    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.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Aug 7, 2014
    sex epic... erotic dreamscape... this movie is alive! the preview intrigued me... Nymphomaniac has one great message; love. truly gripping story-telling. brilliant writing from Lars von Trier! crazy good cast every actor played their part well, top notch drama! A++ Expand
  2. Sep 26, 2014
    Though I think von Trier intended this and its sequel as a four-hour egg in the face of conservative America, I thought it was an excellent look at sexual relations and their minefield-laced politics, showing wonderful imagination. Great acting by Christian Slater, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgård. Highly anticipating watching the sequel this evening! Expand
  3. Mar 21, 2014
    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. Expand
  4. Mar 30, 2014
    This movie is the perfect beginning to an end for Von Trier's "Trilogy of Depression". It's beautifully filmed and the story of Joe (Gainsbourg) is enthralling and tragic at the same time. The only part of the film that I had a problem with was the juxtaposition of Joe's story with Seligman's (Skarsgard) stories and analogies to any and all topics. Yes I understand that these topics that he brings up do connect and reflect the story that Joe tells and yes it is somewhat interesting at first, but then it gets old FAST. I could care less about dessert forks or fly fishing flys I just want to see Joe's story all the way through with no interruption. Other than that slight qualm it is a beautiful film that puts people face to face with one of the most taboo subjects in America; Sex! Expand
  5. Mar 28, 2014
    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.
  6. Mar 28, 2014
    A very beautifully shot and well acted film, All though at times disturbing and overly graphic, And at times just too much, All though overall nymphomaniac is a good solid film, About addiction, Lust and challenge. Expand
  7. Sep 28, 2014
    I was completely prepared to rip this movie a new hole ala my lambasting of "Blue is the warmest color," (see my review for that film) "Nymphomaniac" being the latest entry in the same type of European dogma-style attempt to make a artistically valid pornographic movie but the movie (Nymphomaniac) was so beyond the pale of bad I can't summon anything even critical to say about it. It really is so bad it doesn't even deserve a juvenile thrashing. Thoughts of any sort are difficult to formulate around this film. It almost makes that travesty "Blue is the warmest color" look like competent film making.
    I will say this though: critics of Blue often accused the director of that film, Abdellatif Kechiche of making a movie about a lesbian relationship while having no knowledge of lesbian sex. After watching Nymphomaniac Lars Von Trier appears to have no knowledge of heterosexual sex.

See all 23 User Reviews


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