Dancer in the Dark


Dancer in the Dark

Critics Consensus

Dancer in Dark can be grim, dull, and difficult to watch, but even so, it has a powerful and moving performance from Bjork and is something quite new and visionary.



Total Count: 117


Audience Score

User Ratings: 57,700
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Dancer in the Dark Photos

Movie Info

Set in rural America in 1964, an immigrant and single mother who works at a factory takes refuge from her hardships by imagining herself and her co-workers in Hollywood musicals.

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as Selma
Joel Grey
as Oldrich
Udo Kier
as Dr. Porkorny
Zeljko Ivanek
as District Attorney
Vladica Kostic
as Gene Jezkova
Mette Berggreen
as Receptionist
Lars Michael Dinesen
as Defense Attorney
Michael Flessas
as Angry Man
Noah Lazarus
as Officer of the Court
Sheldon Litt
as Visitor
Andrew Lucre
as Clerk of the Court
John Martinus
as Chairman
Luke Reilly
as New Defense Counsel
Sean Michael Smith
as Person in Doorway
Paprika Steen
as Woman on Night Shift
Eric Voge
as Officer
Nick Wolf
as Man with Hood
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News & Interviews for Dancer in the Dark

Critic Reviews for Dancer in the Dark

All Critics (117) | Top Critics (31)

  • Dancer is like no other movie around. Shot in bleached-out video colors in rough, hand-held style, the film is at once aggressively modern and deliberately, melodramatically, old-fashioned.

    Mar 6, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • At least Dancer in the Dark is bad in a complicated way.

    Mar 19, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Aims right for the heart and aces its target.

    Jun 5, 2001 | Rating: 4.5/5
  • Come to the theater prepared, with a handkerchief in one hand and a rotten tomato in the other.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • A thought-provoking, emotionally resonant, and innovative cinematic experience.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It smashes down the walls of habit that surround so many movies. It returns to the wellsprings. It is a bold, reckless gesture.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dancer in the Dark

  • May 09, 2016
    Completely soaked in raw and powerful emotion. This movie is as beautiful as it is difficult to watch without having your heart ripped out of your chest. Dark, Grim, Depressing and Powerful. This is a movie that you really need to see at least once just for the reaction from your system. Amazing soundtrack that is tastefully placed throughout. Enjoy.
    Brandon S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2014
    Dancer in the Dark is one of the most painful films I had to endure. As the final Dogme film von Trier has directed, it is by far the weirdest and the most depressing. It is a musical drama starring Bjork, Catherine Deneuve and David Morse about the corruption of the justice system, music and joie de vivre. A must see but seeing it once would be enough really.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2013
    This is hands-down the most depressing musical ever made. Even the musical numbers, which seem cheery and lighthearted on the surface, are actually pretty sad when put into the context of the rest of the movie. Björk (yes, that Björk) stars as Selma, a Czech immigrant living in the United States with her 10-year-old son. She barely scrapes by a living with her factory job, but she finds joy in her life through singing and watching musicals. Unfortunately for Selma, she was born with a genetic disorder that is causing her to gradually lose her eyesight, and will have a similar effect on her son. She has been secretly saving up money all her life to pay for her son's surgery, but when her impoverished but greedy landlord (David Morse) finds out about her savings, Selma's life rapidly spirals out control. If I explained further, you would be able to fully understand just how heartwrenchingly sad it gets, but I don't want to spoil anything else about the plot. Let's just say this movie will ruin your day and there's a good chance that you will cry so much that you and everyone else in your home will drown in your tears. It's ridiculously sad. Björk gives a surprisingly powerful performance despite having no acting experience whatsoever. Her character Selma is completely selfless and only wants to give her son the operation he needs to maintain his eyesight, but the people around her bring her down so that they can get what they want. Selma's life is so difficult that, when put into tough situations, she often daydreams that her life is a musical and that everyone around her spontaneously breaks out into song like in a musical. All of the movie's musical numbers are actually just Selma's daydreams, and each one simply acts as a way for Selma to escape the morbid reality of her life. It starts off slowly with a lot of exposition, but as soon as the movie reaches its turning point about 45-50 minutes in (you'll know when it happens) it gets much more emotional and engaging. Danish director Lars von Trier deserves a lot of credit for Dancer in the Dark. He manages to take all of the cheerfulness out of musicals, and that takes a true innovator to do. It will destroy your soul with sadness, but Björk's impressive performance makes Dancer in the Dark a worthwhile (and, again, very depressing) movie to watch.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars Arthouse Rating: 4 stars+ Dancer In The Dark, is Lars Von Triers most accomplished work. It follows Selma a near blind immigrant who doesn't live on luxuries. Selma in theory is a great human being, she has a strong faith in humanity, trust worthy, and a joyful person. These just aren't the skills needed to survive though, because with these qualities she's naive, lives in a dream, and has no sense of priorities. This makes it a difficult watch, she gets the audience frustrated with her. For example dreaming that a court room turns into a musical when being tried for murder. She's to imaginative and has no idea how reality works, keeping a secret for a now dead man who betrayed is something no one would do. This is what made the film so devastating. Everything came back during the trial scene, everything that was done and said had a meaning. Some scenes of dialouge might seem pointless, but it all did come back. I've never seen every single scene incorporated to have an impact. At 140 plus minutes, there was nothing that was worthless to the story. The musical scenes were all dreams, and enjoyable since they were well put together and spread out. Bjorks did not make my ears bleed, and she did give an unfeigned performance. Von Trier created an absolutely brilliant picture, the best film of 2000. It felt like absolute reality, with a cheesy but fitting score and great camera angles. Like the scene where the camera was half in a lake and half above viewing a distant Selma, was one of the best shots I've ever beheld. All around a brilliant film and I certainly imagine myself watching it again.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer

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