It's the End of the World as Lars von Trier Knows It and the National Society of Film Critics Feels Fine
I’m bummed that my favorite critics’ group, the National Society of Film Critics, chose one of my not-favorite films of 2011, Lar von Trier’s “Melancholia,” as its best picture of the year; but you could see it coming.
“Melancholia” is the favorite of a certain type of non-narrative-leaning critic with a touch of doom about them. Plus, despite lauding them on MSNBC.com in 2005, the NSFC and I haven’t agreed on much in the past 10 years. They went with “Capote” over “Brokeback Mountain” or “Munich”; “Pan’s Labyrinth” over “United 93”; “There Will Be Blood” over “No Country for Old Men”; “The Hurt Locker” over “Up” or “A Serious Man.”
I can see why “Melancholia.” I admit its five-minute overture is one of the most beautiful opens in movies. I just didn’t like the movie because: 1) I don’t believe in half its characters; 2) its two parts don’t add up to a whole; 3) its misanthropy seems adolescent; and 4) its hand-held camera made me literally nauseous. But I can understand why some misanthropic, form-over-content, iron-gutted critics would dig it. It’s right in their wheelhouse.
Giving me a reason for dying, with characters I can’t relate to, is easy. Giving me a reason for living, with characters I can relate to, is tough. I’ll go with “The Tree of Life,” their no. 2 pick, any day.
“Melancholia” star Kirsten Dunst, who was also named best actress by the NSFC.