Recently I watched Melancholia on DVD with my mum, and first of all I am glad I watched it with someone else because it is one of those movies that you want to continue discussing the next day.
It started on a strange note and I suppose continued that way, the opening credits were long and drawn out and in my opinion should really have been left until the end – if they were they would have made much more sense to the viewer. We sat, waiting for the movie to start and when it did we were met with “Part 1: Justine”.
Justine was played by Kirsten Dunst and it must have surely been an interesting role for the actress to play. Part 1 was her wedding to Michael played by Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood. He was different to Eric, the strong, sexy vampire – this time he was more boyish, more slim than muscular and…nice. I liked him all the same, but unfortunately Justine couldn’t seem to hold it together and Kirsten Dunst was convincingly in character.
Suffering from extreme depression she sabotages her own future along with her wedding day. Part 1 was quite long and at the end of the movie felt a little unnecessarily so, but I think the point may have been to showcase Justine’s state of mind and the demographic of her family. Both her parents were incapable of helping her, so she only really had the support of her sister, brother in law and young nephew.
Part 2 is where everything really pieced together. This was based on sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and when we encountered Justine for the first time since her wedding she was physically ill due to her depression.
Slowly and with great subtlety a planet called Melancholy had been making its way to earth but would it hit and destroy everything or glide past in a beautiful airshow? Claire and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland) take Justine in and while they are trying to bring her out of her own personal melancholy, John the scientist prepares for the approaching planet.
Something my mum said was quite relevant to how the movie played out. Normally with blockbuster movies where doomsday is approaching you see chaos, a hero, big graphics and special effects. Melancholy wasn’t like that at all. It was quieter, and based on just a few people in one select location. But still, it had power to it and we were left us feeling unsettled. It slowly drew us in, we began by making small talk and commentary but by the end we were hanging on in complete silence to see how it would play out.
And at the end of the day, the hero is also the villain.
I don’t know if I could say I loved it, but it did grip me and even days later it is still there in my mind – and to me that makes a good movie.
I would give this movie 3.5 stars but my mum said she’d give it a 4. If Mr Lace had watched it I’m not sure it would have held his interest, although there is a scene where Kirsten Dunst appears topless so you never know!
Melancholia is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. It won the title of Best Film at the European Film Awards 2011, and Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival – watch it to find out why.
Have you seen Melancholia?