Monday, November 21, 2011

Jason watches MELANCHOLIA

I nominate Lars von Trier as the inaugural inductee into the Drama Queen Hall of Fame.

With that said, he did create a beautiful movie. I just wonder, has anyone tried to interpret it completely literally--no allegory allowed?

Well, then, it's a story of two sad sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) dealing first with Justine's debacle of a wedding, and second the impending destruction of the entire earth. In part one (titled "Justine"), we see her wedding limo attempting to make it to the post-ceremony party, only to get stuck on the winding road up to the luxurious country estate (which, we are reminded many times, includes an 18-hole golf course). Once she and her husband (Alexander Skarsgard) finally make it there, things just get worse and worse. She struggles to keep a happy appearance, but she is surrounded by loathsome, self-serving people. Her boss (Stellan Skarsgard) keeps hounding her about work. The most expensive wedding planner in the world (Udo Kier) won't even look at her because she "ruined my wedding!" Claire's husband John (Keifer Sutherland) at least asks if she's happy, but it's more of an accusation in the context of how much money he spent on the wedding (he's filthy rich, the party is at his estate). Oh, and her father (John Hurt) is a drunken lout, but at least he's charming. Can't say the same about her mother (Charlotte Rampling) who is a bitter, mean woman who toasts to how pointless and impractical marriage is. All through this, Claire at least tries to pull her through, and there are references to her not causing a scene, implying she's had issues before. Clearly Justine suffers from depression, but honestly if I were surrounded by such awful people, I'd be depressed, too.

At the end of part one, Justine and Claire go on an early morning horseback ride, and Justine stops and notices that a star in Orion's belt is missing (one they talked about the previous night). This leads into part two ("Claire"). Maybe a couple of weeks later, Justine's depression is at its worst, and she comes to stay with Claire, John, and their son Leo in their country estate (same one where the wedding party was.) More importantly, we learn that the star in Orion's belt was blocked out by Melancholia, a giant blue planet that's on a course to make a pretty close "fly-by" with the earth. In fact, according to doomsayers on the Internet, it will collide and destroy the earth. Claire has become obsessed with that, even though John insists that the scientists have done the calculation and determined that it will come close enough to be an amazing view, but not collide. However, as Melancholia approaches, Justine emerges from depression. She knows, somehow, that Melancholia will collide, and she's looking forward to it. While John is excited about the flyby (and draws Leo into his excitement), and Claire is freaking out about it, Justine bathes naked in the Melancholia's light (thank you!)

Okay, so now that I've described pretty much the entire movie I'll spare you the spoiler at the end. And I'll spare you any allegorical, philosophical, psychological, autobiographical, or anything-else-ical interpretations. Those are easy and you can find those in any other review. I'll just leave it at "it's a beautiful film."

Running Time: 136 minutes
My Total Minutes: 257,187

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