User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 73
  2. Negative: 13 out of 73

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  1. Apr 4, 2014
    *NOTE: This is a review for Nymphomaniac as a whole; Volume I and II* 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
  2. Apr 4, 2014
    Leaving us on the cusp of coming…to any real closure with our young protagonist Joe (Stacy Martin), von Trier throws quite the curve ball with his character and the overall story, allowing the narrative to take an unexpected turn. After five chapters in the life of Joe’s deranged and numb life, we continue into her sexual escapades as she becomes a woman, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. Nymphomaniac: Volume II picks up exactly where Volume I left off, and doesn’t leave any sex or shock behind. Instead, Volume II is the overly stimulated, ultra aroused, and intellectually charged sexual explicit drama that Volume I never was.

    Although the film was never meant to be split into two parts, and von Trier intended the film to be his original five and a half hour long cut, Volume II is the complex and deep answer to a conventionally linear sexually charged character piece that was Volume I. Think of Nymphomaniac in the same way as you would Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is soaked with violence and bloodshed, making great use of the magic of movie spectacle and serving as a valiant homage to so many of the films Tarantino grew up with and loved.Kill Bill: Vol. 2, a film that infuses so many of the complex philosophies Tarantino has cherished, as well as surely inducting many of his own radical and absurd justifications without much violence, spectacle or gore, the film becomes a philosophical, witty and complex story with an understanding of his protagonist’s psyche and the reason behind her vengeance. Now picture Nymphomaniac: Volume II in the same way as Kill Bill: Vol. 2, but instead of violence, substitute it for graphic nudity and sexual acts (although it is not nearly as subtracted as the violence in Vol.2 of Kill Bill). So basically, the second film in von Trier’s carnal opus is a long-winded, understanding of Joe’s addiction and the ways in which she tries to subdue it, or if anything, control it.

    Volume II descends to the deep and dark corners of a woman who no longer finds simple penetrative intercourse pleasurable. When sex is not enough, what happens? If Joe is any indication of real world nymphomaniacs and the paths they follow in order to find pleasure, von Trier never prepares us for the unexpected directions Joe goes, desperately to find pleasure, at any cost.

    There is no doubting that Joe finds erotic pleasure in the most taboo places and scenarios. She purposely pulls the wires from her car to attract a large crowd of men, who she presumably goes back to have sex with as the camera pans out. She finds strangers on the street, specifically two black men, who so happen to be brothers, to penetrate her at the same time. The scene, which is a big production still that was used towards the marketing of the film, is less graphic and erotic than what you would imagine, and instead more hysterical as it unfolds, especially with the quarrels of the two men. In Joe’s last attempt to find pleasure with a **** that has failed her, Joe finds a man by the name of K (Jamie Bell), an expert in the brutal art of bondage/BDSM whom she finds stimulating through violence and pain. Her relationship is one that she sacrifices the most for as she becomes a woman and a business professional, compromising her health, the little family Joe has, and of course, the limits of her addiction. Volume II of the saga explores the ways in which people find meaning in their addictions without penetration, although they are overall, mostly naturally and habitually inclined to express themselves through intercourse.

    If you know anything about Lars von Trier, you would know that he is a man with many phobias. An intense fear of flying and various bouts of serious depression, the director is a man who implements so many of his phobias onto his characters, especially Nymphomaniac. Ironically enough, since his declaration to never be part of interviews or press conferences again since his last conference at Cannes accused him of loving Hitler and being a Satanist, Volume II has a lot of bottled up feelings the director has been dying to express–in controversial fashion.

    Throughout Joe’s narration of her life to Seligman (Skarsgård), he describes her actions to those of a man’s behaviour of sex. For the most part, Joe is always powerless to her men, especially in the scenes with K (Bell) who appropriately gives her the alias Fido, a name predominantly used for a dog. Joe is submissive and obedient to anything K says, including tying her to couches, chairs or asked to stand still, unflinching, regardless of the painful outcome. Although Joe seems to give all the power to her sexual partners, there is no denying the control she has over them, mentally persuading them to adhere to her requests.
  3. Apr 13, 2014
    Lars Von Trier! A name among the film world that is held in awe, in wonder and sometimes in pure outrage and disgust. I have not seen all his back catalogue (fellow film fans frequently tell me i must watch Dancer in the Dark) but from what i have seen i can tell Von Trier is a very passionate, creative film-maker who i don't think cares what people think of him. His self righteous, controversial views have over flowed into his films before. The Idiots and Dogville being utterly devoid of any redeeming features and just beyond me in terms of structure and thesis. Melancholia had decent performances but did labor and I always found Antic-Christ highly intriguing and quite creepy in places but i think Nymphomaniac is his most assured work to date.
    Divided into two volumes of roughly two hours each, the tormentingly titled Nymphomaniac tells the story of the troubled, bruised and stricken Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as she describes it to soft philosopher Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who rescued her after finding her blacked out in an alley. The first part indulges Joe's childhood and youthful erotic experiences with charming, witty verve, before descending into darker, more painful territory in the second part as Joe's desires come up against the overpowering pressures and constraining necessities of adult nature.
    Listening to the stories throughout, and allowing occasional variations of his own, Seligman is the perfect confessor; a middle-aged virgin whose life has been lived through the words of others. Firstly, there are some incredibly controversial moments, but, coming after the relaxing of the way films are censored in the UK, are not as outrageous as one would imagine. Erections, genitalia close-ups and real sex have all lost their long held taboo milestone in the movies; although it is still only 'art house' films that tend to get away with them.The scene involving Uma Thurman as the aggrieved wife of one of Stacey Martin's character (the young Joe) lovers is probably where the film is at its weirdest but even this lends itself to the realities of a world far from Triers mind games. Stacey Martinis heavenly in her role and her learning curve is expertly handled and crafted.
    Supported by other intense, in turns courageous and uproarious performances, as well as a soundtrack that includes diverse stuff from Rammstein to Beethoven, in keeping with the film's free, candid spirit, Nymphomaniac is a stimulating tour de force that takes in the whole of the singular human experience, including the body and the mind, sex and love, art and life, and all of the complicated and wonderful connections between them. Overwhelming, energising and exhilarating, Nymphomaniac is a brave film made by a man with a generous lust for life in all its cruelty, eccentricity and outrageousness.
    The misogyny(that some people are suggesting) is misguided, i can show you many films more misogynistic than this. most 12a's these days have needless titillation in for a start. After all; this is seen though a woman's eyes and there is enough tenderness if you dig deep to counteract any feeling of hatred toward the films harsher moments.
    So much to take in, it is not for mainstream audiences but it has meaning behind it and with Shia Labeouf's chagrin and silly accent, Slater's dirty posterior among other moments of zaniness, its also viewed as a dark comedy. As the Americans might put it, maybe even Von Trier might describe it..It isn't a film that you can jerk off to(not that i tried). Its not as transparent as the explicit flesh that is on show would have you believe!
  4. Aug 8, 2014
    Continues right from the end of Volume I and it stills holds that erotica epic movie feel. I love the cinematographer on both films, Manuel Alberto Claro. They have a uniqueness to the whole composition of both Volumes. this is one of my favouirte directors Lars von Trier, another favourite of mine he did is the 1996 film Breaking the Waves, which also features Stellan Skarsgård, who is a brillaint actore, also think this is Charlotte Gainsbourg's break through films A+++++!! Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Apr 16, 2014
    The scenes between Gainsbourg and Skarsgard are fewer and less engaging than in the first volume, and the dichotomy between them is simpler and more obvious. And that doesn't even include an ending that is as impulsive and deranged as anything Joe comes up with during all of her taboo-breaking adventures.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 10, 2014
    For better or worse, the whole exercise in lurid leg-pulling goes out with a bang.
  3. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Apr 7, 2014
    It's darker, stranger and pushes more buttons.