Melancholia - Movie Review



Split Melancholia in half and you have the beginning of a rather slow chick flick and the conclusion of the best science-fiction guy-movie you'll ever see. As one who would kind of like to see if Mr. Darcy is about to be consumed by a giant planet, such a premise fascinates me.

"M'Lady, I do believe we're screwed... Shall we retire to the rumpus room?"

Part one begins with the wedding of Justine to Michael (played by Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgård, respectively, otherwise there would be a man in the bridal gown which belongs in a different kind of art film altogether). It's unsure to say how much of their relationship was based upon mutual feelings or economical factors, even though everyone appears to be wealthy. Although they do seem to have their fun beforehand, things soon turn sour once they reach the mansion. Amidst Justine's quarreling parents who were previously divorced, Justine's anxious sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and obscure business dealings, the marriage itself becomes background noise. The relationships are rather complex, and they're not made easy to define. It's a kind of confusion that works though. Justine wonders how she got there herself, and her subsequent choices define the darkness that she enters. Meanwhile, far above them, a distant star is giving it's last breath.

Part two takes place some time later in the future, when the wedding is a faint memory obscured by Justine's profound sadness. She mopes around the mansion as her sister Claire attempts to care for her, despite distinct distain from the both of them. They are brought together by an approaching blue planet named Melancholia, which is expected to graze Earth's path and then wander off. It's expected to because who would imagine that it wouldn't? Claire's husband (Keifer Sutherland) is sure it won't, which comes as a comfort to Claire, at least for a little while.

Depression is something that we see as a weakness, something to be cured. The film is in two parts to show us a perspective from the other end of the spectrum. Happiness can come with overbearing weights of expectation, while depression can offer that freedom that comes when there is nothing left to lose. In one part, one is strong, in the other, one is weak. It's strange how in the face of the ending of the world neither of them change all that much, but it's interesting in how they come to understand that. This is one of the most beautiful films I've seen, both in the way it is composed, and in the way it makes you feel. You're left with that feeling for a long time, and even if you don't necessarily like it I guarantee that you'll be thinking about it for a long time to come. See it.

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