Melancholia

Tuesday, September 27 th, 2016 at 00:09 am 

Melancholia

JOY REVIEW

This is the latest from Lars von Trier and concerns two sisters: Justine, who is played by Kirsten Dunst, and Claire, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg.  The movie, first of all, is too long. It’s two hours and 15 minutes, and it could have been a half hour shorter and much improved because of that, but Lars tends to be a little self-indulgent. It opens with about 15 minutes worth of images that don’t have any connection to anything to begin with, and even though it’s haunting, you ask yourself why?  I’ve got to be honest with you, I like this much better today, the day after, than I did last night when I saw it. At the time, it seemed rather tedious, and it’s still a bit tedious, but it certainly is haunting. The idea is that of the two sisters, Claire has arranged a fabulous wedding for her sister, who kind of ruins everything. She shows up two hours late, she goes and has sex with somebody else, I mean, she’s really running amok, and it turns out that she is depressed, which apparently Lars suffers from as well. Claire is sort of the more organized sister with a son and a husband, played by Kiefer Sutherland, and they live in this fabulous castle that’s surrounded by an 18-hole golf course. Charlotte Rampling has an electric cameo, playing the mother who stands up and says you might as well be happy while you can, because all of this is fraudulent.  So the first half of the movie is Justine, and we sort of deal with Kirsten’s depression as well as her attractiveness. She seems more sullen than depressed to me, but what do I know… Oh wait, I’m a psychologist, I do know. The second hour is about Claire, and to be honest, it’s a more interesting part and Charlotte is a more interesting actress, though maybe not quite as attractive.  It also is basically the world coming to an end, with a planet called Melancholia that’s been behind the sun and is approaching the earth, and Kiefer who’s a scientist, keeps saying not to worry. It turns out — I suppose I’m not giving away very much — when the earth ends, the planet Melancholia bashes into the Earth and obliterates it. I think what we’re supposed to understand is that when push comes to shove, depressed people are basically right, that we are all alone, it’s going to be horrible, and we’re all going to die. The science certainly has a lot to be desired first of all; the notion that we’re alone in this universe is absolutely, simply ridiculous. I mean, statistically it makes no sense whatsoever, but also beyond that there was questionable science, but we really don’t care about that. I mean, this is a filmmaker, he’s not supposed to be a scientist. As I said, I liked the film much better the day after than I did when I was there. It is haunting. It was much too long and some editing really could have helped, but it is thought-provoking with the question of “what would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end, and who would you spend it with,” and different people’s response to knowing that they’re about to die. So for that, I mean it’s at least interesting. I’ll give it three stars.

JOY METER