Friday, December 9, 2011


Oh man! I am tripping!
The holidays are upon us. With depression and suicides being at their highest during the holidays I figure the most appropriate movie to talk about now is the new film “Melancholia”.  I am being glib but in truth this is a beautiful movie that has a lot of insight into the depressed mind.  The cast does a wonderful job pulling it off and it is a remarkable movie that I hope will at least get some Oscar recognition.  The director/writer Lars Von Trier did the movie “Antichrist” which really did nothing for me so this was a really nice change of pace.

A burning wedding dress in slow-mo. Symbolism?
A planet recently undiscovered until recently is on a collision course with Earth. The Earth is doomed and all life as we know it will end.  The film has two separate parts for each sister, Justine, played expertly by Kirsten Dunst and Claire, played by Charlotte Gainsborg.  We follow a wedding of Justine to Michael, played by Alexander Skarsgaard and discover that the main characters suffer from different levels of depression and see how it affects their friends and family.  When they realize the new planet (named Melancholia) is not just going to pass the Earth Justine accepts that the end is coming soon and Claire panics and wants to spend every moment together as a family.

This game of musical chairs just got out of hand.
Trier said that the inspiration came from a depressive episode he suffered and that he found depressive people remain at peace in stressful situations.   The movie has that theme down perfectly.  If there was ever a movie I thought that they should show to a depressed people to make them understand what they are going through this would be it.  It’s also a beautiful movie.  It starts with slow motion shots from the rest of the film and shots from space culminating in the collision that destroys the planet.  This lets you know just how doomed these people are as you watch them.

Before we die, I want you to know I've been

peeing in the sink for years.
I can also say that Kirsten Dunst impressed me in a whole new way.  I knew she could act when she had the right role. Movies like “Interview with a Vampire,” “The Virgin Suicides,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” showed she had talent but this role actually shows that she can wow us given the right project.  Keifer Sutherland does a good job as Claire’s husband, John, who is constantly trying to convince his wife that things will be okay only to discover how wrong he is.  Charlotte Gainsbourg should be commended for her role as Claire.  She is fearful of the apocalyptic end and it is displayed on her constantly.  She looks like she will break at any moment.

The cast is fantastic. The set and the effects are really good for a drama of this caliber.  Why didn’t this get a bigger release?  It’s a really good movie but if there is any flaw it is a long movie.  I think if you are in the mood for a drama with style and a new take on depression this is a good one for you.  Hopefully there will be Oscar buzz around it and it will be released again so folks can see in more widespread fashion.  If you are lucky like I was you can catch it through On Demand. 

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