|NYMPHOMANIAC: VOL. 1 (director/writer: Lars von Trier; cinematographer: Manuel Alberto Claro; editor: Molly Malene Stensgaard; cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg (Joe), Stellan Skarsgard (Seligman), Stacy Martin (Young Joe), Shia LaBeouf (Jerôme), Christian Slater (Joe’s Father), Uma Thurman (Mrs. H), Sophie Kennedy Clark (B), Connie Nielsen (Joe’s Mother), Udo Kier (Waiter) ; Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Louise Vesth; Magnolia Pictures; 2013)|
the sexually graphic pic is more boring
by Dennis Schwartz
Volume One of the two volume Nymphomaniac, the serious art-house smut film by Danish provocateur Lars von Trier ("Antichrist"/"Melancholia"/"Dogville"), is a challenging film. It's another one of von Trier's mind game films, that you either hate or love. It surprises with its humor and tenderness, though its insights into the behavior of women are not very profound. It features our aimless heroine saying such pithy anti-love statements like "Love is just lust with jealousy added."
resident nymph is the brutalized Joe (Charlotte
Gainsbourg). She's a middle-aged woman beaten in
a British alley. The kindly old German Jewish man
Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard)
takes her in to his modest nearby apartment and nurses
her back to health. She thereby relates her life
story, as she tries to explain herself to her
sympathetic caretaker. He listens to her stories and
offers pedestrian psychological responses.
are flashbacks. It opens with Joe saying "I
discovered my cunt at two years old."
Martin plays Joe as a teen. We observe Joe as she goes
through various stages of her life. She tells us she
liked her gentle doctor dad (Christian
Slater) and later would miss her
cold mother (Connie Nielsen);
the boy Jerome ((Shia
LaBeouf)) who took the
fifteen-year-old's virginity with eight thrusts
is acted out; the wild commuter train ride the
teenager took with her best friend (Sophie
Kennedy Clark), where they tried to
outdo each other in how many passengers they could
seduce; and, the funniest sequence, the wife (Uma
Thurman) of one of Joe's many lovers
(she had as many as ten a day) brings her three kids
to see the whore Joe's bed and tells them this is
where daddy spends so much time when not home.
stars act as doubles.
gimmicky and meant to shock, its better moments are
all the times when the asexual Seligman comforts Joe
after she lets loose one of her sexual adventures and
he dismissively tells her she's not a bad person just
because she's a slut. Overall, the sexually graphic
pic is more boring than not.
REVIEWED ON 12/10/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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