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A universal portrayal on the human condition - ★★★★

Oh cheer up for Gods sake would you!

People don’t like depressed people or being around them , they make us uneasy and nervous as there is no quick fix to recovery. Kiefer Sutherland takes on this role perfectly as the only “sane” person having to put up with Charlotte Gainsbourg’s colourful family. We have the mother (Charlotte Rampling) who detests marriage with all its pomp and ceremony and is hell bent on letting everyone know this at her daughter’s wedding, the father (John Hurt) who is having a very late mid life crisis parading around with two much younger women by the name of Betty, while Charlotte herself suffers from anxiety attacks. The star of the show however is Charlotte’s sister Kirsten Dunst who gives us a brilliant insight into what it must be like trying to trudge through the mire of depression.

The back drop to all this madness is the marriage of Kirsten to Michael, played by True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard, and the discovery of a new planet called Melancholia which will pass by the Earth in five days time. This gives just enough time for us to witness the unraveling of Kirsten’s character. It’s not all doom and gloom mind with Udo Kier as the wedding planner and Jesper Christensen as Little Father providing some much needed humour throughout the wedding party.

I imagine it’s no picnic working for Lars von Trier especially if you are a women but he manages to get deep emotional performances out of all his players giving us a real sense of unease and dread. His eye for a shot is remarkable and the opening sequences are so aesthetically pleasing they are worthy of the price of admission alone. With nods to Last year at Marienbad as well as 2001 all film aficionados should be pleased and we see that von Trier shares a kindred spirit with the Pre-Raphaelites.