Manderlay (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Manderlay (2006)



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

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 across a brutal scene in which a white master is viciously lashing his slave (Isaach de BankolÚ), Grace hastily intercedes and pleads with the abusive man to treat his workers with respect and dignity. When merciless matriarchal plantation owner Mam (Lauren Bacall) dies shortly thereafter, the remaining slaves, who have never tasted freedom and only known life under "Mam's Law," implore the sympathetic Grace to help ease their turbulent transition toward democratic rule, with disastrous results. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Lars von Trier
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 8, 2006
IFC Films - Official Site

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Danny Glover
as Wilhelm
Willem Dafoe
as Grace's Father
ChloŰ Sevigny
as Philomena
Jean-Marc Barr
as Mr. Robinsson
Udo Kier
as Mr. Kirspe
Mona Hammond
as Old Wilma
Zeljko Ivanek
as Dr. Hector
Ginny Holder
as Elisabeth
Rik Launspach
as Stanley Mays
Wendy Juel
as Claire
Andrew Hardiman
as Truck Driver
Aki Hirvonen
as Gangster
Hans Karlsson
as Gangster
Ian Matthews
as Mr. Miller
Ross Taylor
as Gangster
Eric Voge
as Gangster
Nick Wolf
as Gangster
John Hurt
as Narrator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Manderlay

Critic Reviews for Manderlay

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (32)

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

Would like to stay awake, you'll have to choose a strategy. You can concentrate on the film's pretension, anti-American arrogance, incoherence, stilted writing or sheer stupidity.

Full Review… | March 2, 2016
Jerusalem Post

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

Full Review… | April 19, 2011

Audience Reviews for Manderlay


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 (3 years ago)
Grace: We have done them a great wrong. It's our abuses have made them what they are.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)

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