Feature

Melancholia

The bride in Danish director Lars von Trier's new film suffers from her knowledge about the earth's imminent collapse.

Directed by Lars von Trier
(R)

***

Melancholia is a snapshot of the world’s final days as envisioned by a director of “boundless imaginative power,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. Danish director Lars von Trier, who suffers from depression, has created an alter ego in a bride whose skepticism about a happy future turns her crowded wedding reception into an extended “nihilistic drama.” Her view is vindicated in the movie’s second half, as she and her family cope with knowledge that the audience has always had: That a planet named Melancholia will soon collide with Earth. From the concept to the performances to the visuals, Melancholia has all the “ingredients of a masterpiece,” said Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. But it’s “grindingly slow”—and burdened by “long, long stretches of directorial indulgence.” Kirsten Dunst, meanwhile, proves “breathtaking” as the troubled bride, said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. It’s “extraordinary to see the life literally being extinguished in her eyes, even when the face is still doing its best to smile.” As for Von Trier, this isn’t just his “most beautiful” film. Strangely, it’s also his most hopeful.

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