Saturday, November 26, 2011

Melancholia, Kristen Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg

warning there are spoilers in this review!
 I just came back from the movie theater having watched Melancholia. This is a movie I would have loved to wax over somewhat poetic with a friend, However most of my friends would not have been able to sit through this type of movie, its just not their cup of tea and there is nothing worse then going to see a movie with someone who doesn't want to sit through said movie. So that is why I've decided to write a review about it and get it all out while its still fresh in my mind.  I won't really talk about the cinematic features of the movie, because many have already done so.Cinematicaly the movie is breathtakingly beautiful,its the stuff that dreams are sometimes made of the colors,scenes the lighting etc, the artful images that sort of linger with you after the film has faded. Before I Begin I just have to add this. When I was in the theater I overheard a young woman saying to her mom, "I hope  this movie isn't depressing".....(Hello the name of the movie is MELANCHOLIA) lol that made me laugh!

One of the main reasons why I wanted to see this movie , is because of the SciFi nature of the film. And I was intrigued by the title. Melancholia, which means Sadness and Depressing, so fitting for a movie about the end of the world. I've never been a huge fan of Kristen Dunst, but I have to say her acting in this film was pretty damn good.  She captured so much in her emotions I truly believed her breakdown or depression , it wasn't something that was hammered into you, it was subtle with every look, every smile the deadness in her eyes underneath every single emotion was so very believable. But having said that It was really Charlotte Gainsbourg whom I was impressed with.So I'll give both women their props.

First I have to say that I could identify with both women maybe Claire(Gainsbourg) slightly more then Justine(Dunst) But if you look at each character in the movie, The mother and father and  Claire's husband played by Kiefer Sutherland, and even the son, in a way they make up different aspects of a whole person.  I go through some  depression every year, I think in some respects most people if they admit it do too. We smile we pretend everything is OK, but underneath we are seething and frightened of things we cannot put a name to and some that we can.  But what happens when you stop smiling , when you stop pretending we turn into Justine, for me Justine represents that side in me that wants to give up stop pretending, the part of me that wants to stand in the middle of the street and fall down or scream and laugh and cry  all at once, the side that stops trying.... the side that just doesn't give a damn, a side that's pretty scary .... There is a scene in the movie where Claire is trying to get Justine to put her leg in the bathtub, Justine just can't do it, she's too exhausted to tired to depressed, she doesn't give a damn if she stinks, she  just cannot be bothered to lift her damn leg over the tub.

I have empathy for Justine, I can relate! There have been times in my life where I didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to take a bath, I'm also incredibly envious of Justine too, because unlike her I had to get out of bed and I had to take a bath, I had no choice, there was no Claire their to hold me up and see to my needs, if I had stayed in bed and not cleaned up I would have ended up on the streets, Unfortunately for me Depression is a luxury I just can't afford.  That's why for me Justine and Claire really represent one character they are different sides of the same coin.

 Claire tells Justine more then once in the movie that she really does hate Justine sometimes. Its totally understandable,( It must feel so F-ing wonderful to be able to breakdown if breakdown one must) Claire has everything a rich husband who obviously loves her,an a adorable young son. Claire has hope, she's loving and compassionate, and she does love her sister, maybe Claire has the hope and the motivation because she has the luxury to do so, but I never really get that feeling from her. And Gainsbourg doesn't play her that way! which is why I was really impressed by her> She could have easily muttled the character of Claire and under a lesser actress Claire's character wouldn't have made the grade. Claire would never dream of being so selfish as to be depressed. Claire is the hope, she is the rock, the foundation where strong walls stand she is the shield for when reality becomes to much. Claire represents that part in those of us who cannot afford to have a breakdown, because the reality of such actions would leave us in an even worse place and we know it so we must solider on as best we can. There is a scene in the movie that I thought was funny, its time for Justine to throw her wedding flower bouquet  over the balcony into the waiting arms of all the brides maids etc, and Justine is just sort of standing there with a blank look on her face and eventually Claire comes over takes the bouquet out of her hand and just sort of drops it over the balcony!lol

Then there is Melancholia, the planet of doom that comes to destroy the earth.  Melancholia is not only a representation of the Depression that Justine is going through in the movie, but it also represents our actions in the face of a disaster how we can transform.  Depression itself and what it represents in and of itself is a sort of ending of our own little world anyway. If you really think about it the end of our world is going to come for each and everyone of us at some point in our lives regardless.  How we choose to live life and how we choose to end our life is sort of a Metaphor in the movies theme.

The Planet of doom Melancholia effects and transforms Justine, she sort of comes into her true self. Justine is beautiful on the outside, I'm not saying her inside is ugly, because that wouldn't be true. Lets just say Justine's true self blossoms in the doom of Melancholia's dark shadow.. There is a scene in the movie at Justine's wedding where she is being brutally honest to her boss about how she feels about him and her job. Nothing about it is pretty and you get a glimpse of the lie this woman has been living. But she is real  in that moment  and she is so beautiful and powerful in her ugly truth. Another scene before she tells her boss the truth, she has sex with a strange man and she is almost beating him with her vagina!! There is another scene in the movie where Melancholia is making itself more known and  Justine is almost savagely beating her horse, as Melancholia comes closer to the earth Justine comes closer to her true self, the one she's been hiding. Her depression is both liberating and scary!

Melancholia(the planet of doom) transforms Claire too. But in a different way. For Justine Melancholia's impending doom is a reality that she can accept and embrace it validates her and it makes her stronger. She isn't afraid the end is coming. For Claire its a different story, how does she cling to hope in the face of doom, reality use to be something that gave her comfort, and now its to be avoided an denied in order  to give her hope. Even though its in her nature to accept reality and deal with it, it's a struggle for her, for how can one stay strong when there is no hope, when reality is to painful to deal with. As you watch Claire deal with her gripping fear of the impending doom of Melancholia, you get to sort of see in a way how Justine came to be the way she is. Every time Claire's husband tells her not to worry about Melancholia that its going to pass earth by, you see the fake and anxious smile on Claire's face she desperately wants to believe it because giving into the fear is to frightening. As Melancholia gets closer, Justine gets stronger and Claire starts to falter. She has a son, the son represents youth and all its potential and lost potential the young that can still believe in magic and there by giving a sort of strength that even in the face of doom there are still some things worth believing in.Then there is Claire's Husband who is excited about Melancholia and truly believe that everything is going to be ok and the first minute he finds out he was wrong he commits suicide leaving his wife and child to fend for themselves. Her husband who seemed to have some contempt for Justine's depression, checks out the first opportunity he gets.  In the end  its Claire who needs to lean on Justine's strength to help her face Melancholia. Melancholia comes and destroys the earth and everything on it, and Claire her son and Justine find that they can face it they have no choice but to do so and there is a beauty and a strength in letting go and accepting those things which we have no power to change.