Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard
Justine: The Earth is evil…we don’t need to grieve for it.
Justine: Nobody will miss it…
Well…there’s a wedding…and the bride, Justine (Dunst) is feigning happiness. She’s actually depressed, worried, sad, and afraid. You might say…she’s melancholic. Why? Well, she’s not entirely sure, but soon after the wedding she might just find out. That’s when humanity learns that a very large planet is going to make a flyby of the Earth…or possibly collide with it.
Where to start?
How about with Kirsten Dunst. This had to be a pretty mentally draining role for her. She has to go from depressed to really depressed and finally to so depressed that she can’t even get out of bed. It may not be a wide ranging performance, but I thought she did a good job, especially when her character takes a sort of preternatural turn.
Speaking of turns, this movie would have taken a very major and unexpected turn if it hadn’t been for the first 5 minutes of the film. In those first minutes, we’re treated to scenes depicting the final moments of the Earth before the planet Melancholia erases it from existence. Without that opening, the following hour of the movie would have just seemed like a family drama. Instead, Justine’s sense of impending doom takes on an odd, heavy feel, which then makes the various family dramatics more interesting. On their own, the quarrels wouldn’t be that entertaining, but I stayed interested because I knew eventually that big planet would come into play.
This is my first exposure to Lars Von Triers, and I have to admit that I enjoyed his style. Not that I’m going to rush out and watch Antichrist, but I might check out some of his other directorial efforts.
I’d say this isn’t a movie for the masses, but it is a movie that will leave you thinking afterward. Not just about how you would react to the Earth’s impending doom, but also about what the movie is a metaphor/analogy for. Mortality? The ennui of life and marriage? You decide.
Just be prepared to sit through the world’s most depressing wedding reception.
Oh, and can anybody tell me why Justine’s family is entirely British, but she has no accent whatsoever? I think I missed that explanation…
Okay, I realized I left out one of the major reasons I enjoyed this movie. It was an end-of-the-world type story done on a very personal level. We aren’t subjected to a boatload of fake news broadcasts or presidential speeches or military guys talking about what could be done to save the Earth. It’s just one family’s dealings with the scenario. It reminded me of Signs in that regard. When you take a big idea and focus it on just a few characters, that’s when the real emotions of the situation start to emerge…
Be very sure before you say “I do.”
10 – 1.6 because yeah, it does drag at times – .8 for the generally angry tone = 7.6