Melancholia is either a movie you are going to love or hate. If you liked the beginning of 2001:A Space Odyssey then you may appreciate the opening to this movie. You may still be scratching you head through the first half of this feature but don’t worry, it will make sense eventually.
Melancholia is the story of two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst), and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and their strained, dysfunctional relationship. The start of the movie (after a fashion) finds us at the reception for Justine and Michael’s (Alexander Skarsgard) wedding. Claire and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland) have gone through great time and money to put on this extravagant and seemingly never-ending event. But Justine is not happy. It’s not the event or even the wedding it seems she’s just in a severe depression. She deals or doesn’t deal with it in many ways including disappearing a lot which makes the whole ordeal even longer. Of course the fact that her mother is not happy with the whole arrangement and makes it known to everyone doesn’t help. Neither does the fact that her husband’s best man Jack (Stellan Skarsgard) is also her boss and is hounding her to come up with the tagline for their new advertising campaign before the night is over.
But this is just one backdrop to the main story. Melancholia is also the name a planet that was hidden behind the sun but is now on the move. It’s supposed to pass in front of the Earth with no repercussions but something huge and beautiful in the sky. But not everyone believes this. Many believe it’s on a collision course with Earth. This puts Claire in a near panic despite what her husband John believes is going to happen.
This is very much an “art” film, beautiful, symbolic, and at times confusing. Melancholia is not just the planet but the moods of our sister characters as they all struggle with hurtling toward disaster.
This movie isn’t for everyone but if you have a like of the experimental you may want to give this movie a look.