This week’s Netflix A-Z is not exactly a double feature but then it might be since the choice is Nymphomaniac and it was released in Vol. 1 & 2. However, I saw them all as one feature on Netflix back to back. It was a long time to sit down for a movie but I felt it was the right way to do it instead of cutting it into two parts.
Let’s check it out! 🙂
Director (and writer): Lars Von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LeBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Mia Goth,
Vol. 1: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.-IMDB
Vol.2: The continuation of Joe’s sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman’s care. – IMDB
Nymphomaniac is a 4 hour movie split into pretty much 2 hour volumes for the audience. However, it doesn’t make sense to watch this in two sittings because this is a woman, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), recounting her story as to how and why she ended up beaten and picked up from an alleyway by this stranger called Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard). The first half, aka Volume 1, was much more fun to watch than the second half. I can tell you that for certain. But, the point in the second part really is in the ending when Joe discovers a lot more about herself and we actually start seeing what I think the point of this movie is. Everyone gets something different from every movie but the things Joe comments about the society and how woman and men differ and just how nymphomaniac comes to light comes in a somewhat gender inequality/double standards sort of thing. I could be crazy and its not saying that but it feels like Joe’s story and the things she reflects on highlights the imperfect society.
The cast here is actually quite huge. Charlotte Gainsbourg is pretty great as Joe however, the star here and who makes Volume 1 even better than Volume 2 is Stacy Martin as young Joe. The true character development was in Vol.1 as we watched young Joe grow up and embrace the different phases of her youth up till falling in love. Her life crosses path with Jerome (Shia Lebeouf) in the most oddest times. The best part is how her talk with Seligman brings up these comparisons with fly-fishing and all sorts of topics that you wouldn’t quite think about contrasting with when a lady is recounting her sex experiences and how they affected her in different stages of her life. Its what made this part quirky and weird but rather enjoyable to watch.
Nymphomaniac isn’t for everyone. It has a lot of sex scenes and spans across a lot of touchy subjects related to Joe’s life choices. The second half (aka Volume 2) of the movie goes into a more brutal and violent downfall of her character. Here Charlotte Gainsbourg takes the reins. It becomes more convoluted and goes down the path of Joe and her adulthood, riding on family, the importance of sex and the sacrifices she made and how she ended up sitting where she is now. The best part of the second part is really the ending and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s performance that keeps the story interesting enough to watch.
Its hard to talk about Nymphomaniac. In many ways, its an experience that only watching this movie can embody. However, its also a movie that definitely won’t appeal to everybody. I don’t mind talk about sex and actually those touchy subjects, questioning society and human behavior and human nature intrigues me quite a bit. 4 hours is a long time and its not easy to hold anyone’s attention without taking a break. Some scenes were a little tough to watch and there’s only so many private parts I can take in one sitting without thinking about how much this is like artistic high quality porn. But it isn’t porn, that would be unfair to say, Nymphomaniac is just very explicit in demonstrating its story plus, its hard to talk about a girl who is a nymphomaniac and not have her getting in some steamy situations.
Overall, Nymphomaniac is an artistic movie. Its long and Volume 1 is a lot more enjoyable than Volume 2. It has some great performances and so many that I don’t even know what more to say than applauding Stacy Martin and Charlotte Gainsbourg. There are some good bits like Mrs. H played by Uma Thurman and Mr. H situation that kind of made me laugh a little. Then, her relationship with Shia Lebeouf from how they met to how it all ended was a huge chunk of it. Mostly her journey through life meeting the different sex partners with single alphabet names, all different in their own way makes up for a lot of entertainment and just how her desires change whether in lust or love or desire. Its a movie experience thats worth seeing but I don’t guarantee your enjoyment. This one is extremely subjective and particular to viewer preferences.
Have you seen Nymphomaniac? What did you think of it? Do you prefer Vol. 1 or 2 more?