Melancholia documents opposing points of view on life, everything we know and how to deal with the end of it all. Essentially it’s the story of Justine (Kirsten Dunst), her lavish wedding and her piercing depression. We watch her go from dealing fairly well to becoming consumed by the void. The world is coming to an end (read: another planet is about to crash into Earth and kill us all.) and Justine, at her lowest, pulls it together to face the end with dignity. The first half of the movie portrays Justine’s point of view.
Melancholia is also the story of Claire, Justine’s sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Claire’s the good sister; she’s kind and excessively patient. She takes care of Justine when the depression extinguishes her personality and purpose. The end is near and at the story’s conclusion Justine and Claire can do nothing but stand nose-to-nose with annihilation. The second act of this film documents Claire’s point of view.
Lars von Trier directs a stunning film; it’s beautiful and horrifically sad. The surreal visuals add a dreamlike quality to the depression that permeates every scene. As far as the performances go, Kirstin Dunst nailed it. She portrays depression in a frighteningly realistic light. Her performance alone is reason enough to check out Melancholia. However, the stunning visuals and poignant performances of Alexander Skarsgård, Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt also make this a satisfying journey. It’s not for everyone, though. If you get it, it will stay with you. If you don’t, you’ll be bored about 40 minutes into it and abandon ship. If the above sounds like it might be interesting, give it a go.