World ends beautifully in ‘Melancholia’
Published: March 12, 2012 09:55AM
Updated: April 5, 2012 02:50PM
Bride Justine (Kirsten Dunst, left) and her groom Michael (Alexander Skarsgård), with Justine's brother-in-law John (Keifer Sutherland) and sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), see something in the sky in "Melancholia." Christian Geisnaes | Magnolia Pictures


DVD •It feels like the end of the world to Justine (Kirsten Dunst), the sad bride whose overplanned wedding fills the first half of Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia” — but in the second half, the end of the world is real, as another planet moves closer and closer to the Earth, foreshadowing our doom.

Von Trier’s poetic images unite these two stories, a cluttered family affair where Justine and her husband (Alexander Skarsgard) endure petty grumbling by the in-laws (a group that includes Keifer Sutherland, John Hurt, Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard), and the dour aftermath in which Justine and her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) await the end. The results are tragically beautiful.

— Sean P. Means