Posted: June 20th, 2021
Melancholia is a film written and directed by Lars von Trier. It’s a film that tries to embrace the very persona of people of today’s generation. Being in a fast-paced world, most of us are being left out from the raging rapids of life, causing some to totally gone astray from the path where would lead to ultimate happiness. The plot of the film mainly revolves around the last moments of the life lived by the two main characters, Justine and Claire, and how everything started with a bang (grandiose wedding) and ends with the boom (end of the world).
More than anything, I believe the director wants to create awareness about mental health. As much as the film is about the end of the world, the author also gave great importance in portraying depression as a disease in itself rather than a state of mind, which can fully change the person both in thinking and in actions. This is seen the movie by how Justine eventually become, being happy with her wedding in the start and eventually fell into melancholy and somewhat lose her mind in the latter parts of the film.
Despite being a slow-spaced movie, the film was able to pick up and display its greatness. With the use of symbolisms in the start of the movie which will eventually be unfolded and explained in the later parts of the film, the audience will truly appreciate and be mesmerized by the film. An example of such is when in the start of the film, we see a bride running while being held back by roots grabbing her ankles which will eventually mean Justine struggling with her mental illness.
The director was also able to use comparison as a defining characteristic of the film, it was able to showcase two differing main characters of the film which heightened the story of the film. One character being all irrational and unbalanced and one being plain and adheres to standards. I was also impressed by how the director completely turned the plot of the story by stealthily hiding the main plot of the film and introducing it in the latter parts of the film.
By doing this, although it made the film boring in the start (if one did not understand the slow-motion cinematics in the introduction), it eventually picked up and made a beautiful yet chaotic ending that no one expects to have. The cinematography of the film was also not cheap, and the sound arrangement was really good, I appreciated the use of classical music in the film specially in the climax of the film as it somehow gave a frightening feeling as the music volume up and faded as the movie comes to an end. I’ve also appreciated how the director was able to portray the reversal of roles of Justine and Claire when accepting the fact that the world will end.
I was also able to appreciate and was surprised to see hints of morality being portrayed in the film. A prime example of this is when Justine had a sex with a stranger even though she was getting married. In this we see how Justine drive by her evil passions committed such an indecent act and which was considered to be morally wrong. Another example that I could find in the film related to morality is when the characters realized that the end of the world is near, one of the characters, specifically John, Claire’s husband choose to end his own life. Although their actions are reasonable, taking one’s own life is a cowardly way to face the truth and reality of life.
In totality, I believe the film is great, once you understand the hidden meanings and the development of the plot, one can appreciate it. Although it might be somewhat boring and confusing for some, I was able to enjoy it. If there is anything that I would change about the film it is about how unrealistic the film really is, not in the sense about the end of the world which I agree with the writer himself, but how it is being unfolded.
It feels like the author dwell to much in the exposition eventually rushing the climax and denouement. Additionally, the author left out the rising action part of the plot, it feels like the last part of the movie were rushed and skipped to the climax. However, I believe that this imperfection is what made his movie great, it made it his own charms.
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