Director: Lars Von Trier (Anti-Christ and Melancholia) Producer: Marie Cecilie Gade and Louise Vesth Script Writer: Lars Von Trier Actors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie, Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Michaël Pas, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier Genre: Drama Running time: 5 hours 42 min (325 min)
On a cold winter’s evening, the old, charming bachelor Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) finds the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) beaten up in an alleyway. He brings her home to his flat where he tends to her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe, over the next eight chapters, recounts the lustful story of her highly erotic life from infancy to the age of 50. Seligman, a widely read man, connects and analyzes Joe’s stories with what he has read about. (Wikipedia)
Last fall I viewed a preview of this movie and my jaw dropped to the ground. I could not believe that a movie like this was filmed with a cast like this!! They may not be “A listed” actors and actresses but they have done some pretty amazing movies in their time. (Puts hand on cheeks). But this movie’s subject is so taboo!!! Then I saw the movie and I was totally “mind blown”!!!!! The trailer paints a picture of one thing but in all actuality, you get the total opposite!!! This movie opened up so many questions. I rank this movie right up there with Donnie Darko and Inception. You can watch this movie several times and still not know what is going on, what is real, and you’ll see things you did not see the first 5 times!! This movie is not for kids or immature adults. This movie is a really deep movie, you have to pay attention or you will miss so much! Nymphomaniac is presented in 2 volumes with a total of 8 chapters. These take you through Joe’s life, from toddler years to her current age of 50. Each chapter represents a pivotal time in her life. Joe is found beat up, in an alley, by an older gentleman named Seligman. He offers her help as she recuperates from her beating. As she cryptically expresses her self-loathing over tea n milk, he psychoanalyzes her exploits and justifies her actions as normal human behavior, instead of the highly abnormal, socially frowned upon, taboo life style. The first time I watched this movie I was totally convinced that Seligman was projecting his life’s hobbies onto Joe’s life story. Inevitably trying to convince Joe through symbolism that her actions as a nymphomaniac are just as poetic as the death of Edgar Allen Poe, the concept of fly fishing and/or the significance of the numbers 3 + 5 (which he stated as the Fibonacci sequence. Now I googled what the Fibonacci sequence was and I thought it was pretty far-fetched for him to compare the Fibonacci sequence to Joe’s first sexual experience. They are nothing alike at all). Sometimes I felt the symbolism was way over my head (in some parts they still are) and I would re-wind the part and watch again, to try and understand what I just saw and heard. Now that I have seen this movie for a second time (and I guarantee there will be a 3rd, 4th, 5th, you get my meaning), this movie is NOT what it appears to be on the surface – don’t be fooled by the director’s sly trickery, nor that of the characters themselves. I do not think this movie is about the sexual exploits of a nymphomaniac, nor told from Joe’s point of view. I think this movie is based totally on Seligman’s sick-n- twisted perverted point of view. I think Joe is a highly smart yet depressed, pathological liar trying to make her hum-drum boring life more appealing to a stranger by using his hobbies as a base for her story. As I stated before, there are 8 chapters in the movie. But by watching the movie for a second time, I see where she labels her chapters based off of things in his room. One example is where she uses his hobbies to tell a story. There is a fly fishing hook on the wall of his guest bed room. Upon pointing this object out to Seligman he tells her it is a fly fishing hook. She then starts her story off with how she became acquainted with her womanhood at a young age and finishes her chapter about a bet she and her best friend had on how many guys they could sleep with on a train. Seligman compares her bet with the concept of fly fishing; how the girls walked up and down the train car was like walking up and down a river to find the best spot. How they picked their quarry was like fishermen casting their hooks over and over again to entice the fish. How the girls had sex with the men was like the fishermen hooking their fish. First off, this is a really, REALLY good analogy of what the girls did. Second, it was the first time I questioned the movie; if the movie was told from Joe’s point of view or Seligman. By the end of the whole movie (vol. 1 and vol. 2) I am totally convinced it is told from Seligman’s point of view and that Joe’s story may not be real. I came to this conclusion based off the phenomenal cinematography. What an outstanding job!!! The opening and closing sequence of the combined movies was eye-popping GENIUS!! You are going to laugh when I tell you this but the first minute and several seconds of the movie is pitch black with no sound at all. I thought something was wrong with my TV!! I turned the PS3 off, turned the TV off, reconnected all the wires and tried again! No luck, still no sound. So I fast forward the movie till I got a picture, and then there was still no sound! I was getting worried. I made a frantic phone call to see if I broke something, was told to basic trouble shoot again and not panic. Turns out, this is how the movie starts. I see what you did there Lars Von Trier!!! After the black screen, the film takes you through a beautiful snowy night in an ally in super slow-mo! Emphasizing the snow falling slowly, the water trickling from rusty pipes on bricks, and all the dark and mysterious things you can find in an alley. The movie ends how it starts. And yes, by the end of the movie your mouth is hanging open and you are just staring at the screen, all the while your brain is screaming “No Effing Way, That Just HAPPENED!!!” The Cast and Script was outstanding! I think this is Shia Labeouf’s (guilty pleasure, don’t judge J) greatest performance! You can’t see any of his usual comic wit in this movie at all. He may have fumbled a bit on the accent he adopted, but he did such a phenomenal performance you can overlook it and still applaud him. You can’t fit 5 plus hours of movie into a movie trailer, so YES I was so surprised at the actors that kept popping up in this movie. I can’t tell you how many times I said “no way, so-n-so is in this movie!!!”. With the script and direction of this movie, you are complete mind-f*cked at how realistic this movie is. There was no fake, bright Hollywood pizazz in this movie. The subjects in the movie were so in your face and so raw, that the character chemistry was evident in every scene. They didn’t hide anything. Nothing looked fake; everything looked and sounded so real!!! So realistic that it is hard to believe this is a movie and not a memoir of someone’s life. It depicts realistic words, sounds, orgasmic shudders and ecstasies realistically – a far cry from bad acting and chemistry in pornography; you’ll see the good, bad, and ugly; shameless but real. This movie was so amazingly filmed; you can easily relate some sex scenes to your own personal experiences. My time is running short; Jenn only lets me have so much room for my reviews. I don’t want to bore you with continuing to gush about how amazing this movie is. I could talk and debate this movie for hours. The film is open to interpretation, and no two people will see it the same way. I give this movie the highest rating I can but would hesitate to recommend it to just anyone. Like I stated in the beginning, this movie is for mature adults – adults who can see past the grotesque nudity and subject matter to see the deeper meaning of the story. Also do you see the hilarity in the movie poster? A profile picture of everyone’s “O” face. Like I said earlier – Pure Genius. Memorable Movie Quote:
You think you know everything about sex…(leans in and whispers in Joe’s ear)…The secret ingredient to sex is love.
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