The end of the world—and the collapse of the spirit—has never been depicted as beautifully and wrenchingly as in Melancholia, the latest provocation from Lars von Trier (Antichrist, NYFF '09). The title refers both to a destructive planet “that has been hiding behind the sun” and the crippling depression of new bride Justine (a revelatory Kirsten Dunst, rightful winner of the Best Actress award at Cannes this year), whose mental illness is so severe that she drives away her groom during their disastrous wedding reception. As the extinction of the planet looms ever larger, Justine is desperately tended to by her sister, Claire (an equally magnificent Charlotte Gainsbourg), herself gripped by anxiety over the impending doomsday. Melancholia’s premise may be science fiction, but the feelings of despair it plumbs are the most heart-felt human drama. A Magnolia Pictures release.

  • Directed By Lars von Trier
  • 2011
  • Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany/Italy
  • English
  • 135 minutes