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Manderlay (2006)


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 100
Fresh: 51
Rotten: 49

Critics Consensus: Manderlay may work better as a political statement than as a film, making its points at the expense of telling a compelling story.

Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 10
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: Manderlay may work better as a political statement than as a film, making its points at the expense of telling a compelling story.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 16,381


Movie Info

The politics of slavery and the follies of nation-building highlight Danish director Lars von Trier's thought-provoking follow-up to the director's 2003 drama Dogville, featuring The Village's Bryce Dallas Howard in the role originally played by Nicole Kidman, and shot in the same stage-bound style as its predecessor. Shortly after leaving Dogville, Grace (Howard) and her father (Willem Dafoe) wander into a gated Alabama community still operating under the tenets of slavery. Appalled to stumble … More

Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Lars von Trier
In Theaters:
Aug 8, 2006
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Manderlay

All Critics (106) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (49) | DVD (13)

Manderlay loses in power what it lacks in novelty, even though it's more relevant than anything the year is likely to bring.

Full Review… | November 27, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

Watching this film is an edifying but frustrating experience; dull in parts, amusing and illuminating in others. You'd still struggle to call it entertainment.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Dig that freaky symbolism!

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

If von Trier can't be bothered to get out more, he should at least consider picking up a book or just using some real imagination.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Manderlay is both more coherent and more obvious than Dogville, which lacked the clean narrative drive of the new film.

Full Review… | February 24, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Manderlay comes off as little more than a droning, embittered curiosity.

February 24, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

The second installment in Lars von Trier's trilogy, USA: Land of Opprtunity, is a maor disappointment

Full Review… | April 19, 2011

A superior entry to "Dogville."

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

"Manderlay" shows von Trier learning from that film's stylistic mistakes to make an ambitious and thought-provoking allegory about the ways in which "slavery" in America was never truly abolished, but rather converted to a different condition of capitalis

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

It doesn't offer much insight into America's race issues, which might seem at first to be its target, but it works very well as a metaphor for America's intervention in Iraq.

Full Review… | June 3, 2008
Paste Magazine

If this trilogy finishes up strong, this middle portion may come to be seen as the weakest, though it's still forceful and intimate in the von Trier manner.

Full Review… | September 27, 2007

[It] raises interesting questions about what can happen in a democracy when its people are deeply corrupt. ... But likely to be more disheartened than enlightened.

September 12, 2007
Looking Closer

this Great Dane backs up his satiric bark with a vicious bite.

Full Review… | August 2, 2007
Eye for Film

A slightly more ponderous - if less dramatically satisfying - example of a Von Trier puppet show.

Full Review… | July 3, 2007
Projection Booth

Manderlay is an intellectually invigorating analysis of race, class, power and democracy, all while remaining a thoroughly enjoyable (if harrowing) film.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Relying on a daring script as executed by A-list actors, offers a potentially transformational experience for any inclined to contemplate an introspective, gut-wrenching meditation on the intractability of the legacy of slavery.

Full Review… | May 20, 2007

Manderlay is shorter but just as dull, pretentious and condescending as Dogville.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

I was intrigued by the intensity and audaciousness of Dogville, but Manderlay feels stagey, earnest, long and pretentious. Its grainy, shaky hand-held camera-work only adds to the monotony.

Full Review… | November 24, 2006
Urban Cinefile

The audience's familiarity with the stylistic devices of Manderlay should allow the film's more reflective screenplay to shine through.

Full Review… | September 28, 2006
Sight and Sound

... an anti-American rant that tediously plays out as a misplaced lecture by the pretentious filmmaker.

Full Review… | August 24, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Unstintingly raw and cynical.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

Picks at the painful sores of America's racial legacy while withholding the brotherhood-of-man epiphanies that made the Oscar-validated 'Crash' a healing experience for many moviegoers...

March 31, 2006
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Manderlay

I really didn't think he'd top Dogville but I think Lars von Trier has here with Manderlay. The sound-stage concept still feels fresh and the change of actors almost adds to the next chapter of the American trilogy (At least what was meant to be a trilogy, it's a terrible shame another film will now not be made). Everything about this film is first rate, I'm astonished by this film's low rating on flixster. I guess if you hold a mirror up to the world, the world doesn't always like what it sees.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Lars Von Trier repeats his famous and tedious Dogville formula. nevertheless, an interesting and thought-provoking microcosm.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


The mid-point of Lars von Trier's 'American trilogy', Manderlay follows up Dogville in it's presentation of the hypocrisy of a fictional-but-it-most-certainly-could-be-real town in the good ol' US of A.
Rather than another case of snide back-stabbing in such backwater towns, Manderlay takes us (and Grace) to a small village in which slavery is still going ahead. Grace is quick to point out the error of everyone's ways here, even arguing her father's gangsters have more humanity, and her trust and optimism later prove to be here downfall.
The sets are once again less than minimal, mostly rooms are defined by chalk outlinesm with occiasonal 'real pieces', such as a donkey powering a well. Though still powerful cinema, by its very nature lacks the innovation of the first, and thus the impact.
Other flaws occur, such as Grace's recasting as Bryce Dallas Howard. Not that she gives a bad performance; she simply doesn't look like Kidman, nor does she have her screen prescence. Another issue is her sudden precociousness (at nights she lusts for a local 'black buck'), which seems implausible after her sexual torment in Dogville.
The third act is a belter, though, ably illustrating von Trier's true colours with some pitch-perfect, arguably por-slavery humanistic drama.
Imperfect, but powerful.

Antony Stubbs

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Manderlay" takes place after the events in "Dogville". Grace(Bryce Dallas Howard, a vast improvement over Nicole Kidman), her mobster father(Willem Dafoe) and their gangster retinue make their way east to Alabama where they discover a plantation, Manderlay, where the slaves have not yet been freed, even though it is 1933. Freeing them is the easy part; ensuring their former masters do not take advantage of them is another matter completely. So, Grace takes half of her father's men including his legal advisor and sets to occupy Manderlay until full liberation has occurred.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Manderlay" is a better movie than "Dogville" and I found the plot very plausible. The film best serves as an allegory of the Second Gulf War and the ensuing occupation. Even the artifice of the sparse stage works better this time around. Lars von Trier again makes another critique of democracy but leaves his obsession of female martyrdom to Niki Caro.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Manderlay Quotes

Grace's Father:
When push comes to shove, you've made everything worse, like you did with Tweety.
– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
We have done them a great wrong. It's our abuses have made them what they are.
– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)

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