Release Date: Nov. 18, 2011
Running Time: 130 minutes
It’s the end of the world as Kristen Dunst knows it and she feels fine. In director Lars von Trier’s haunting Melancholia, Dunst stars as a new bride whose depression ruins her wedding day to True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård. In the grand scheme of things, though, Dunst’s wedding day means nothing when news spreads that a rogue planet may be on a collision course for Earth. The planet is Melancholia, which appropriately shares its name with the mood disorder that likely afflicts Dunst. Her manic-depressive tendencies dictate the way the day goes. When she’s high, she in the good graces of her sister and brother-in-law, played respectively by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland. When she’s low, she receives little to no sympathy from the loved ones put out by her behavior. Von Trier’s endured his own bout with depression, and intentionally or otherwise, Melancholia strives to engender understanding and support for those living with this mental illness. It’s agonizing to watch Dunst suffer through what should be the happiest day of her life, especially as she imparts the sense of alienation and feeling of helplessness her bride experiences with unflinching honesty. Von Trier juxtaposes Dunst’s surprising reaction to a possible disaster involving the rogue planet with that of her seemingly headstrong sister and brother-in-law. It’s the calm before the storm for Dunst. Beautifully shot and compassionately told, Melancholia is a deeply personal study of the crippling effects of depression that’s enhanced by its sci-fi overtones.
Aired: Nov. 17, 2011
Web site: http://www.melancholiathemovie.com/