24 November 2012


(Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi. Year: 2011. Studio: Zentropa. Country: Denmark.

Melancholia Poster "Melancholia" is the name of the fictional planet around which the plot of the movie evolves. It is also the mental disorder of the principal character in the movie. Melancholia is a severe depressive state with unexplained melancholy when a person becomes very sad and gradually loses interests in everything. The cause of melancholia might be biological, psychological or hereditary.

The movie quietly confronts the audience with a hypothetical situation — the sudden end of the world. It describes two types of people — one accepts the sad fate calmly while the other does not. Near the end, the movie poses a scientific statement and an implicit philosophical question: Are we alone in the universe? and Is the end of life really coming to a complete full stop?

With a series of slow moving frames, the scenes first depict how an apocalyptic end would look like. Then, the title of "Part 1, Justine" flashes, starting to demonstrate the true feelings between two sisters, Claire and Justine, and among the people around them. After a very brief pause of this part, the screen flashing "Part 2, Claire", finishing the narratives about the two sisters and their family.


In the beginning, Justine rode in a limo with Michael, her new husband, to go to the wedding reception at Claire's luxury mansion. The limo chauffeur had difficulties to maneuver on the steep hilly road in reach their destination. Justine and Michael eventually resorted to walking on bare feet uphill. When the couple arrived, Claire informed Justine that they were already 2 hours late behind schedule.

The long evening reception did not go smoothly. The divorced parents of Claire and Justine were plainly not getting along. Claire's husband, John, was angry at the mother, Gaby, and threw out her belongings at the front door. Justine insulted her boss, and he stormed off the mansion knowing that she had just quit. Then, Justine had trouble to connect with the guests, with Michael and even with this marriage. Finally, Michael took off leaving Justine at the reception.

Next morning, Claire and Justine saddled their horses and took an exercise ride. During the ride, Justine was perplexed by the bright object in in the sky, which John said was the star of Antares. This ended Part 1.

After this wedding, Justine suffered of a serious illness — melancholia. She had problems to concentrate on daily activities, like taking a bath or eating a meal. Claire asked Justine to take a taxi to the mansion to stay with her. In another horseback ride, Justine looked up at the sky in the same spot. This time she saw a huge blue moon instead of the bright star.

Being keen on astronomy, John realized Antares had been eclipsed by a blue rogue planet, nicknamed Melancholia, which had entered into our solar system and was now fast approaching the Earth. Some became worried, though most scientists expected no threats to the Earth. Believing this, John believed only a magnificent flying-over show in this astronomical event. He assured Claire that Melancholia would pass across the sky tranquilly and the Earth would be safe. There was also around another theory in which the Jupiter-size Melancholia was actually in a cataclysmic collision course with the Earth. Claire chose to continue life as usual. Justine had nothing to lose in this life and chose to believe otherwise. At the end, John found out he made an error about the theory; not able to bear the impending oblivion, he killed himself. As the end was coming, Justine revealed to Claire her hunches - about the number guessing game, the looming disaster of the Earth, and her unhappy ending with Michael.



Kirsten Dunst as Justine
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Claire
Kiefer Sutherland as John
Alexander Skarsgård as Michael
Charlotte Rampling as Gaby, Justine and Claire's mother
John Hurt as Dexter, Justine and Claire's father
Cameron Spurr as Leo, son of Claire


Written & Directed by Lars von Trier
Produced by Zentropa Released by Magnolia Pictures
Filmed in Swedn
Released in 2011
Running Time: 135 min

Rotten Tomatoes: 77% critics
Best Actress Award for Kirsten Dunst at the 64th Cannes Film Festival (May 2011)
3 Awards at European Film Awards
Budget: US$9.4 million
World Box Office: US$15.9 million
US Box Office: US$3.0 million


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