Friday, January 6, 2012


This week's movie (yes, I skipped the theater last week) was Melancholia, directed by Lars von Trier.

Melancholia is a movie in two parts, each focusing on one of two sisters. The first part focuses on Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, on the evening of her marriage. She starts off seemingly happy, in love and carefree. She, however, gradually slips into a strange funk, and slips away from the reception at nearly every opportunity. It's implied throughout this half that the wedding and reception were planned to make Justine happy, implying that she has some emotional problems that the people around her obviously don't know how to handle.

The second half focuses on Claire, Justine's older sister, played by the overly prolific Charlotte Gainsbourg. It begins with Justine coming to stay with Claire and her family. By this point, Justine has fallen into a deep depression (also known as...melancholia) leaving her constantly tired and unable to perform even the simplest of tasks. As Justine seems to get better (at least a little bit), Claire's emotional state begins to deteriorate. Alluded to briefly in the first half, a rogue planet, called Melancholia, is traveling towards Earth. Although her husband assures her that it will not hit Earth, Claire becomes increasingly concerned with the thought that it will.

This week was actually my second viewing of the movie; I had previously rented it on Amazon when I thought it wasn't going to be released locally. It was, however, certainly a movie that required more than one viewing. Though a bit hard to follow at times, it is an excellent story, made better by a stellar cast. I'm not really sure why, but I made up my mind that I didn't like Kirsten Dunst about eight years ago. Whatever her transgression was, she certainly redeemed herself here. Charlotte Gainsbourg, who I've already mentioned has spent the year doing way more than the rest of us, was excellent as well. The movie was also the first time I've seen Alexander Skarsgaard in anything; he is definitely swoon-worthy.

Maybe not for everyone, but definitely go see (or rent online) if you want to believe that Miss Dunst can be more than a baby vampire or Spiderman's girlfriend.

Movie score (the film did not feature a typical modern music soundtrack, but heavily incorporated elements of Wagner's Tristan & Isolde prelude):

As performed by the Bayerische Staatsoper Bayerisches Staatsorchester, conducted by Zubin Mehta

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