On Friday night, Rhyme et Reason’s editor in chief and I saw the much buzzed about Melancholia at The Charles Theater downtown. (Also, does it pain you to write “theater” instead of “theatre”?) We are still talking about the ending (spoiler alert: everyone dies) via iMessage and twitter so we thought a proper write-up on the blog was necessary.
Despite the bad press, Lars Von Trier–the controversial Danish director–has a masterpiece on his hands. Obviously we’re not the only ones who feel this way, as evidenced by Melancholia winning “Best Picture” at the European Film Awards yesterday, and Kirsten Dunst’s “Prix d’interprétation féminine” win at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a stunningly beautiful film that deals with doom–both personal and planetary.
In brief, the protagonist Justine (Dunst) spots a distant star on her wedding night (the planet Melancholia). Soon after, her marriage and, the world, come to an abrupt end. Justine wants nothing to do with this world and experiences what the audience gathers is her only moment of genuine happiness just before the end. Her sister Claire, on the other hand, can’t imagine anything but. She becomes more unhinged with every passing minute–not unlike the horses (and the audience). When it is clear that Melancholia will not pass anyone by, Claire asks, “But where will Leo (her son) grow up?” in near hysterics. At that, Justine is the only one with dry eyes.
Dunst is good as Justine but she is not Melancholia’s only star. Look for strong performances from Charlotte Gainsbourg (Claire), Keifer Sutherland (John), Charlotte Rampling (Gaby), John Hurt (Dexter), Alexander Skarsgård (Michael) and his father Stellan (Jack).
Check out the trailer–and the film if you can. It is a must: