Melancholia

2011

Melancholia

Critics Consensus

Melancholia's dramatic tricks are more obvious than they should be, but this is otherwise a showcase for Kirsten Dunst's acting and for Lars von Trier's profound, visceral vision of depression and destruction.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 197

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 44,436
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Movie Info

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, the planet, Melancholia, is heading towards Earth... Melancholia is a psychological disaster movie from director Lars von Trier. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Melancholia

All Critics (197) | Top Critics (51)

  • In Melancholia, von Trier has created a mission statement of a masterpiece, one that reminds us that nihilism itself can serve as a legitimate form of creation, a means as well as The End.

    Nov 7, 2016 | Full Review…

    Lisa Rosman

    indieWire
    Top Critic
  • "Melancholia" is a hauntingly beautiful meditation on depression that is as likely to exasperate as many people as it moves.

    Dec 1, 2011 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Melancholia floats in an air of supernatural malaise and tension, a melancholy mirrored in everything and everyone.

    Nov 29, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Melancholia will haunt you for days, maybe weeks.

    Nov 23, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Newsday
    Top Critic
  • A severe and ecstatic work of art.

    Nov 23, 2011 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • It's a credit to the director's persistence of vision that he finds such eerie images to adorn this wispy tree of death. Like a newborn planet, "Melancholia" is magnetically beautiful, but it's also an unformed mass of hot air.

    Nov 21, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Melancholia

  • Sep 14, 2016
    Where does one even begin a review about Lars Von Trier's film that was inspired by one his depressive episodes. Where would you begin? I guess first things first, this movie is ambitious as fuck, there's certainly no denying that. I haven't watched many Von Trier films if I'm being completely honest, though I've wanted to see Dancer in the Dark for a long time. While I certainly respect his style and approach towards filmmaking, his movie just generally haven't appealed to me that much. Don't know why. And this is coming from someone who enjoyed Antichrist, but his films have never caught my attention. It goes without saying that I think the guy is talented, but, again, his movies just haven't caught my attention. But, if I'm being completely honest, much like a lot of his films, this will cause a polarizing reactions. Some will find it to be an absolute masterpiece and others will find it to be a pretentious and infuriating piece of work. And I can see both sides of the equation. Like the first 8 minutes of the film are just slo-mo images set to classical music basically showing the ending of the film. Part of me gets the reasoning behind it, but part of me also feels that it was completely unnecessary. It doesn't add anything to the movie one way or the other. I wouldn't say the film is genius, but I can see how someone might feel that it was. I fall somewhere in the middle. Part of me hated this film, like the first part focusing on Justine's wedding. Not that the wedding itself and everything that happened wasn't relevant to where the film wanted to go, but a lot of parts of it feel more like self-serving as opposed something that is meant to help the overall narrative. Though, again, I do feel that it served a purpose. Justine, basically, during her wedding screws herself out of a job and out of her own marriage by fucking someone else on the golf course. You get to see how Justine's behavior goes up and down from depressed to happy to angry and then back to depressed again. She's clearly a woman who is not very stable mentally. Which leads us to the second part of the film, focusing more on Justine's sister, Claire, who's adjusting to life after Justine, who seems to have been in an institution after suffering a mental breakdown, moves in with her and her family. She's also growing increasingly worried that this planet, Melancholia, will collide with her due to some research she's been doing. Her husband reassures her that it's just gonna pass us by and leave. This is when the film really finds its focus, because, again, the wedding is relevant in showing the state of mind that Justine finds herself in, uncaring and indifferent to the fact that the world is pretty much about to end. The characterization is strong, but that is mostly helped by the fact that Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg are both fantastic in their roles. Seriously fantastic. I think both Kirsten and Charlotte put in some of their best work, I really do believe that. Because of that, I do think the film does go to some interesting with its characters, particularly Kiefer Sutherland's character once he finally realizes that it's all over. The film is certainly not a happy one, that's for sure. Its outlook is pretty damn bleak, but, in spite of that, it's not really a movie that leaves you feeling down or depressed about the world when it's all over. Which is not an easy thing to achieve when the film deals with the literal end of the world due to another planet crashing into us. So that was, not necessarily impressive, but it was pretty interesting how they handled some pretty bleak themes without actually depressing the shit out of viewers. At least that's how I felt, maybe someone else saw it differently. Visually speaking, the film is very impressive, like just seeing Melancholia closing in on earth. It's pretty damn beautiful. In spite of the fact that the planet is gonna destroy everything, there's something beautiful about it all. So yea, all in all, I'd say I actually really enjoyed this movie in spite of all the flaws I felt it had with the wedding segment of the film. The second half more than makes up for that. It's not a movie that everyone will love, but I do think it's worth watching because of its characters, its storytelling and its style. It's gonna inspire debates between people who hate and love Lars Von Trier. And that's what art is really all about honestly.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2014
    The second instalment in Von Trier's Depression Trilogy is a real highpoint as the provocative director presents audiences with one of his true masterpieces. Kirsten Dunst pulls of her career defining performance as she flawlessly presents a central character who struggles with depression, which ultimately ruins the most important day in her life: the wedding day. To make matters worse, a planet called Melancholia heads towards the planet and doom is inevitably going to fall upon mankind. Forget about any ideas of cities full of panicking people or over destructive natural hazards for which one person or family amazingly survives despite all odds. Here we focus on the emotional struggle Dunst has with her depression. Then there's Charlotte Gainsbourg, whose character attempts to both handle supporting her sister and the stress of knowing Earth will be destroyed. 'Melancholia' is a beautifully made film which left me both amazed and emotionally moved throughout every moment. Despite a few factors which may affect the attention of some viewers, they shouldn't get in the way with how much Von Trier does right.
    Samuel R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2014
    Stumbles in places and takes too long to get going, but once it finds its feet it's something else.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 12, 2014
    I'm not sure what to really think about this. I suppose I give it a low rating because it failed to make a deep impression on me. It left me a bit confused about the message this was trying to portray (that we should take advantage of every moment we have left in our lives? that life is not important and that we shouldn't care?). Dunst is good as the depressed bride ruining her wedding (it is weird that her sister has a British accent). The problem with it is exactly in how some critics describe the film: "baffling but brilliant" and "as likely to exasperate as many people as it moves". I think I'm one of the few who found themselves on the negative end of the spectrum as I didn't find anything psychologically interesting about what this film was trying to say. I can understand that this is a film exploring depression and that the answers it gives won't be comforting, but I just found the slow pace and artsy scenes too bland and aggravating. Or maybe I just didn't like von Trier's vision this time around (me being quite a fan of his).
    Wildaly M Super Reviewer

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