You better be goddam happy

Kirsten Dunst (as Justine) in Melancholia

Let’s get something crystal clear: I hate the shit out of this movie. I hate it with every fiber of my body. And I know it’s not fair at all. And it’s not like I just finished watching it yesterday, or last week. I watched it 4 months ago, and there’s not any chance that I’d ever watch it again. But why now, that I decide to write about it? Frankly, I can say it never left my mind.

It would be easier, as in it would be less haunting, if I couldn’t relate to Justine at all. I would hate her and the movie with even more burning rage. At first, right after watching it, I hated it so much I thought of burning it. But then I went read some articles about it, the context and everything. I guess I could never ignore it anyway. And it shocked me, to know that Lars went through depression and this movie was kind of a romanticized depiction of his own experiences. The fact that a film maker used his own tragic experiences as the theme for his movie moved my heart. Because I know how hard it is, to cut yourself open and spread it all on the table. And suddenly I found the movie much less pretentious than it was originally. But still too pretentious and over the top for my taste, apparently.

Let’s play objective for a second because I’m gonna be really unpleasant later when it comes to my subjective judgement of the movie. First of all, I actually loved Kirsten Dunst’s acting. She was perfect. And that is a strong statement coming from me considering how much I disliked her before. If you want to make a pretentious movie without any tangible plot, or a with plot that makes no sense, really consider having her in it because people would believe it. And Charlotte Gainsbourg, she was born to play Lars’ movies. It felt like only Charlotte herself really knew what happened during the achingly long two hours of the movie. And I guess that’s all I have to compliment about the movie, beside the first 8 minutes of it, which has been praised too much already (I should have stopped after that. It’s better for everyone…)

Now to the harsh part. I detest the characterization of this movie. I know it’s a real person’s experience and to declare such strong negative feeling about it might become offensive. I know what depression is like so it’d be a lie if I said what von Triers did in the movie was wrong. The sentence I used for the title of this entry was from John, Claire’s husband in the movie. And I was told the exact same thing to my face last week. But the way he depicted it onscreen, it’s like an insult to me. The way Justine struggled and tried to be happy during her own wedding is real. But must it be her wedding, with someone loving her so much like Michael? I mean struggling with depression is hard, and it would mean the world to me if someone decide to stick with me through it. But it doesn’t mean I get to act like a prick. Holding on to someone, like staying in a relationship, is perfectly fine. But getting married? A whole different story. Is it fair what we judge Justine when she was sick? No, not at all. But is it fair that Michael had to endure the ridiculous that she pulled during their wedding? And maybe even in all the years to come? Don’t even start on the embarrassment, it would break his heart first.

Basically my problem is, if you decide to act like everything is okay, do it and pursuit the act until last minute. If you can’t, say it out loud and let other people help you. It’s just that simple! No one asks you to keep everything inside and then struggle and play misserable and fuck shits up. It would be very offensive for someone who suffers from the same sickness but tries to hold on and keep everything together. And that’s why I liked Justine much better in Part 2 of the movie, where she accepted her sickness and let Claire help her. She made more sense to me like that.

And then Claire, she was a perfect character, as much as I hate to admit. But the part about Apocalypse, which was like the most significant plot of her storyline, ruined everything for me. I know it’s a metaphor and an important plot point to the movie (duh, the movie’s called Melancholia!) but it’s just very, very pretentious to me. Why would you even need the end of the world to come to communicate extreme depression and anxiety? If it was some other thing, the death of a child in Antichrist for example, it’d be much more relatable and honest.

Also I hate movies with loopholes and loose ends. Like the one sentence Justine said that I can never let go: “I can see things.” What the fuck does that mean? She had depression, not paranoia?! And if she really could see things, what does it matter? How does it matter and why? Don’t just drop things like that in your movie just for the sake of it! (Urgh, same reason I disliked The Departed) Especially when Melancholia is a heavily metaphorical movie, every signs and symbols should be accounted and people would also look for meaning behind everything.

This movie is such a strong counter of my belief in film making – A pretty movie, despite of its plot, would be appreciated. Because this movie is like a visual orgasm. Everything in it was beautifully done and every metaphor was perfectly visualized. Even the shaking camera played its role in generating anticipation and emotions. But it was still a painful movie to watch. I can see why people favor it, but I will forever hate this movie until the end of me.

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