Melancholia review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Melancholia is a strange yet beautiful movie about the last few days of the world when a planet “Melancholia” from which the movie gets it’s name has appeared from behind the sun where it has been hidden for years and is now heading, inevitably, toward Earth where it promises complete destruction.
The movie opens with a prologue put to classical music an extreme slow motion images, which throws you into the slowly grievous story head first. Once your mind is fogged by the haunting and beautiful prologue the movie launches into the story proper; which is about two sisters, Justine and Claire – played by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg respectively – from a fragmented and dysfunctional family. Justine is just about to get married and on the surface she is your typical happy bride, however it becomes apparent quite quickly that Dunst is in fact a damaged young women, weighed down by emotional baggage and inexorably distant from the rest of the world. Whilst her sister Claire, is married (to Keifer Sutherland who puts in an excellent albeit clipped and staunch performance) and, again, despite leading a seemingly happy existence, is visibly struggling to keep things together.
Dunst, who I have always found often, blows hot and cold in her performances (dependant largely on the quality of the role) is excellent in Melancholia in an aching performance that is reminiscent of her performance in the Virgin Suicides all those years ago, whilst Gainsbourg is brilliant as ever.
The movie is a tragic yet impressive watch, which manipulates the quiet sense of pain and fear many feel at one time or another, and turns it into the story of lives unfulfilled and soon to be over.