Nymphomaniac is Reviewed in Australia

Nymphomaniac poster composite

Margaret from the Australian TV show At the Movies reviewed the controversial Lars von Trier film and here’s what she had to say:

Lars von Trier’s epic four hour NYMPHOMANIAC is framed by a dialectic between Seligman – Stellen Skarsgard – and Joe – Charlotte Gainsbourg – the woman he rescues from an alley near his home. She’s been bashed. As she recovers in his pyjama top over a cup of tea, the story of her self-proclaimed sinful life is revealed. She has been from an early age voraciously and boldly promiscuous. Joe – in Volume 1 played by Stacy Martin – asks local moped rider Jerome – Shia La Boeuf – to put an end to her virginity. And then she and a schoolfriend trawl a train in a competition to bed the most men on it.

Seligman’s non-judgmental riffs into fly fishing, into Fibonacci numbers, into eastern/western religion are a counterpoint to Joe’s frank descriptions of her encounters.

I am a fan of Lars von Trier, I think he has a boldness about his filmmaking that is admirable. But this venture into sexuality has such an undercurrent of sadism that I was, not repelled, but distanced. I don’t mind seeing sex on screen, erect penises, genitalia generally, I’m not easily offended. But I thought there was an intellectual showiness on display here, as well as, I hate to say, a tediousness. Actual sex – and it’s explicitly stated that none of the performers partook of the actual – is a bit of a yawn. So what is he trying to achieve here? Is it shock for shock’s sake. I don’t think so. But what I do feel is that he hasn’t imbued the film with enough intellectual weight to make it make it matter that much. Seligman’s digressions seem self-indulgent, too abstruse to really have an impact on the narrative. Performances are solid, and daring, Stacy Martin particularly impressive as the young Joe, Jamie Bell very convincing as an S & M therapist. And von Trier’s current muse Charlotte Gainsbourg and his great ally Skarsgard are stoic.

via abc.net.au

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.