Movie review: Melancholia
I dragged Big Guns to see this film on Sunday night. There were only nine of us in the theater, which was awkward. (I’ll explain shortly.)
I stand by my previous assessment of Lars von Trier and I still have a love/hate relationship with him. His films are so hard to watch, but riveting and I can’t not watch. I don’t know how he reaches that deep, disturbing place. It’s not the subject matter. Plenty of movies have been made about depression and injustice and the evil people are capable of, but his are more visceral. I suppose I could try and analyze them frame by frame, but I would have to take breaks to smell flowers and pet kittens to prevent myself from drawing a warm bath and opening a vein or two.
Lars does not shy away from ugly or difficult. He makes you stay with it even as it gets uglier. It’s gut wrenching and painful and frustrating watching his character, Justine (who he supposedly based on his own self) be depressed. You want to kill her or hospitalize her. (Here’s why it was awkward to see with Big Guns; he was so emotionally involved and distraught, he started yelling at the screen: “You bitch!” “Don’t do that.” “What’s wrong with her?”) The story is also about her co-dependent sister who married very well, but continues to rescue and care for Justine. The third main character is the huge planet, Melancholia, previously hidden behind the sun and which may or may not crash into and annihilate Earth. (It’s a metaphor for how depression–or melancholia–destroys everything.)
Like a student film, it’s beautifully indulgent and rich with imagery. Like a Lars von Trier film, it upset me and made me want to dream a new ending.