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Generally favorable reviews- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 78
  2. Negative: 13 out of 78

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  1. Apr 4, 2014
    Vastly superior to the first film, but I really hate the ending. Feels like a cop-out after 4 hours of sitting through this story. The benefit of part II is that you don't have to deal with Slater/Uma, who really sink the first part. And you get more Gainsbourg, who is awesome.
  2. 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
  3. Apr 4, 2014
    This is undoubtedly more of a piece than the first film, but the two should be viewed in tandem and despite flaws are well worth sitting through even as a four hour plus marathon. Charlotte Gainsbourg takes over the central role from Stacy Martin and by now one has accepted the improbable scenario connecting chapters. This second part flows a lot better than the first and the screenplay touching on some really provocative themes, including race, paedophilia and gender in equality, is handled in an interesting and thought provoking manner. The ending ties things up effectively and somewhat surprisingly. Expand
  4. Apr 4, 2014
    "Nymphomaniac: Vol. II" is greedy, it goes too far with sexuality, in Volume I, it was continuing the story, here, it is overloaded with sexuality that isn't necessary and won't affect the story if it was decreased a bit. I hate the ending of the film, it is disrespectful to the audience who waited two hours just to find out satisfactory after being temporarily depressed for four hours in two movies. As for the bright side, this is serious filmmaking as I said before, the actors are all winners and the two Volumes won't be forgotten by people for a long time. Collapse
  5. 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.
  6. Apr 11, 2014
    A woman with a thousand-yard stare looks out the window and introduces the next vignette with a goofy text delivered at glacial speed: "...and so, I became aware of my own feelings... my own body... my"

    A passive sidekick, whom you suspect --because of the universal laws of porn-- will have a sex scene with her at some point, answers "I understand, Emanuelle, tell me more..."
    Cue music and Flashback. Rinse and repeat. Ad nauseum.

    This is the traditional territory of movies like "Emannuelle in space" and other cinemax after dark gems, and also of Nymph()maniac, Lars Von Trier's weakest effort to date.

    A key difference with "Emanuelle" (or given the boorish masochism "Ilsa the She-wolf of the SS,") is that Nymph()maniac doesn't need to stand on it's own merit as a movie, naked at 12:45 a.m. in Cinemax. On the contrary, Nymph()maniac has the benefit of an invisible imperial cloack (similar to Tarantino's, but more European) to cover itself: if something is cheesy, broken, or plain nonsensical, it can always be protected by the standard excuse: "you don't go to a von trier film for the story! you go for the provocation and to see the mind of the auteur."

    And if apologies from the public are not convincing, Lars himself will tell you directly in the movie: "ok, I know it's not good, but how will you get more of my story? by believing it or not?"

    The brute narrative structure is the first hint of the poverty ahead: Nymph()maniac, will leave astute viewers with the impression somebody is **** or bullying them, trying to sell something rather pedestrian as high art,something borrowed as something original, something conventional as taboo, and a copy of the von trier of old as the real thing.

    The movie, a rehash of everything the author has done better elsewhere, is a good opportunity to review the standard conversation around him, in which the word "provocation" is usually front and center.

    Provocation in Von Trier's terms means something like this: "put yourself through unpleasantness, disgust, or worse, boredom, and in return I shall provoke you with brutal insight and challenge your assumptions." Lets call this the Von Trier Bargain.

    The Von Trier bargain works well when dealing with form and pessimistic tone: doing away with sets in Dogville, and sticking to handheld camera work in Dogme, did provide interesting ground for thought about Cinema and pushed the conversation about what a movie actually is and means.

    The Von Trier bargain doesn't work so well when dealing with content. The man is not an intellectual, just a tortured soul.

    When Von Trier tries the bargain with words and ideas instead of images the outcome is pedestrian. Digressions around the first few terms of the Fibonacci sequence, for example, might be very amusing to him, but are shallow and incoherent to a public that actually know what the series are. That sort of disjoint shouts at "cleverness" has the same DNA as the rants of a disturbed person in a street corner; or his own rants at Cannes.

    Other examples of the bargain gone wrong abound in the movie: the botched transition of genres and roles, where Gainsbourgh becomes a mafia figure thanks to her "special powers" is risible. A mere excuse to have the pederast scene, which again feels more like an explanation about Cannes and other faux-pas than an insight into perversion. The attempt at list-movie making in the style of Greenaway, and the discourse on violence in the style of Haneke, all fall short here. They fall short both because the underlying insight is weaker and of the shock value is higher. It comes out as needy.

    Needy here is a key word. A key masochistic word. there is a palpable self-consciousness in trying to make it shocking, trying to make it more "Von-trier" that ends up in a mess of apologies, starting with the two-part split and the opening credits promising a more hardcore version. One can almost hear Von Trier begging: "I promise it will be shocking enough! give me another 2 hours. I'll make her bleed!"

    Not even the great Gainsbourgh, who is truly a soldier of Cinema, or the movie-stealing Uma Thurman can save this mess. For every Uma thurman minute, there are ten empty and weak minutes of pornographic rehash, such as the suicidal baby from Antichrist saved at the last minute by the supremely miscast Shia LaBeouf.

    Despite all the attempts at framing it in terms of provocation vs. bourgeois values, this movie has more in common with bang bros. and sophomores trying to be clever, than with the masterpieces of erotic provocation like "Personna," "The Piano Teacher," or "The Pillow Book."

    To put it shortly, Nymp()maniac is not the sum of Von Trier's life-long preoccupation and themes, it is a cacophony and a rehash of previous work repackaged in weak structure and shallow references.

    This movie is not really about a nymphomaniac out of orgasms as much as it is about a masochistic man out of ideas.
  7. 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!
  8. Apr 14, 2014
    The philosophical and physological conversation that started between Stellan Skarsgård and Charlotte Gainsbourg in Vol 1 picks up where it left. This time she's lost all sensation in her genitals, which sends her to extremes (including intense S&M with Jamie Bell). This one does go deeper and darker with less cinematic flair and more intense personal exploration. It's still compelling and even more explicit (still not really erotic), but serves as a fitting conclusion to the pair. Expand
  9. May 7, 2014
    As the story follows from the volume 1 my review too not much difference because to me, I watched these two parts as a narrow single story. I does liked it for many reasons and one of it was the soundtracks, so awesome. This installment was only slightly different in form of a story. It demonstrates the transformation of the character Joe, from what we had known her in the first.

    movie with two volumes were the final movie of Lars Von Trier's 'depression' trilogy after 'Antichrist' and 'Melacholia'. An astonishing performance by Charlotte Gainsbourg in all the three movie. In fact Von Trier used her perfectly according to the script demanded. All these three movies will be her career best. In some of the scenes I could not believe it and said 'was she did it?'. Yes of course, but filmmakers has a different theory and says they used a body double in sensitive portion of the scenes with the little help of computer magic.

    It is an inappropriate movie for the few though well made movie if you consider it is a reality for those who are affected by nymphomania. The movie is available in two versions, explicit and softer edition. So I recommend the people are eager to watch this choose according to your need.

    I have already said almost everything in the volume 1 review that is why volume 2 review looks kind of pale. So you can go through that if you have not read yet. #Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 Review. Overall, this duology was one of the best among similar themes, especially who love adult movie with a clean merge of reasonable drama.
  10. May 10, 2014
    Un simple film pornographique du style Emmanuelle dont le but est de provoqué/déranger comme tout les film de ce réalisateur .
    Les "vrai" acteurs étant doublé par des acteurs pornographique pour les tres nombreuses scenes de sexes , autant allé voir directement un vrai film pornographique .
    Notons au passage , que les enfants de Charlotte Gainsbourg on été insulté/chahuté par leur
    camarade d'école et traumatisé à la sortie de ce film .... Expand
  11. Jun 17, 2014
    A 4-hour binge watching of provocateur Lars von Trier’s latest feminist saga (divided into two volumes) is a candid confession of a middle-age nymphomaniac Joe (Gainsbourg, doughtily consummates her enthralling rendering in von Trier’s Trilogy of Depression, after ANTICHRIST 2009 and MELANCHOLIA 2011, 8/10), out of self-hatred, she chronicles her deviant life from childhood to present, to an elder Jewish polymath Seligman (Skarsgård), who brings her home after finding her lying on the street afflicted from a savage assault.

    read the rest of my review on my blog, google cinema omnivore, thanks!
  12. Jul 7, 2014
    Volume 2 is a lot better then the first. Still there were times, when I was bored with the story. It seemed like to needed to be better edited. But the ending surprised me and it was a good one.
  13. 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
  14. Sep 27, 2014
    I enjoyed this sequel, though not quite as much as the first part. It misses having more of Christian Slater, Stacy Martin and, dare I say it, Shia LaBeouf, like the first part did, and von Trier's metaphors aren't as creative or as intelligently constructed. The ending's perfect though--I felt that would happen, one way or the other. Recommended if you're not prudish and have a sense of humour, especially about love and sex, and if you're a von Trier fan and thus know what you're getting yourself into. I definitely look forward to what he has next up his sleeve--he and Werner Herzog are definitely the most consistently interesting European directors of the past 30+ years. 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.