Melancholia (Magnolia Pictures) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, June 9th, 2023  


Studio: Magnolia Pictures

Nov 11, 2011 Issue #38 - 10th Anniversary Issue
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Coming off the unfairly maligned and deeply polarizing Antichrist, director Lars von Trier’s Melancholia returns to the plot devices of his earlier classicsmost notably the notion that women are in complete control, even in martyrdom, and men are largely craven dolts.

It’s not a spoiler to reveal that Melancholia addresses the end of the world, as the titular planet completely obliterates the Earth in a spectacular opening sequence. But what’s revealed in the lead up to this denouement is some of the most astounding filmmaking of 2011, and even the past decade.

Kirsten Dunst dazzles as Justine, the chronically depressed bride-to-be who views the ceremony of marriage as hollow and spiritually bereft. And Charlotte Gainsbourg adeptly imbues her sister Claire with a certain resigned dignity, grounded by her unconditional love for her son Leo (Cameron Spurr).

As the film progresses towards the inevitable climax, a forlorn beauty is evinced within the bond between the two sisters. There’s sadness and terror, but also relief, empathy, and joy even. Melancholia has parallels to Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice and Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, but this is ultimately pure von Trier, the work of one of the few indisputable greats operating in modern cinema. (

Author rating: 9/10

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