Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2014)
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5
Directed by Lars Von Trier
Starring Stacy Martin as Young Joe
Charlotte Gainsbourg as Joe
Stellan Skarsgård as Seligman
Seligman discovers Joe, beaten bloody and lying in an alley, and takes her home to care for her, where she recounts the tale of how she got there.
I’ve been waiting for the right day to marathon Nymphomaniac for a while, and I finally found the day, what I can say now is that Volume 1 surpassed every expectation I had, and Volume 2 disappointed the hell out of me, but I’ll talk about that later. To focus on Nymphomaniac: Volume 1, this is a film that in no way belongs in a series of films called the “depression trilogy”. The first part of Nymphomaniac is a lot of fun, it’s a lighthearted, good humored look at the life of a sex addict, and doesn’t really look at any of the consequences to Joe’s actions just yet. It really works as a tragic hero’s rise, before her ultimate downfall, and it becomes so much fun because of that. It would be like if Martin Scorsese split The Wolf of Wall Street in half, so we only see Jordan Belfort’s rise to the top of the stock market, and his debauchery, and we have to wait for the sequel to see all the trouble he gets into. You might lose some of the themes and messages in the process, but it would still be a very fun film where we don’t really get to see the consequences. Yet despite it being a very fun look at an incredibly active sex life, Nymphomaniac never feels in any way like pornography, it’s never provocative, it’s just fun. There were some moments that I really hated in the film, like pretty much anything involving Seligman, the character who rescues Joe from the alley, who was so annoying and whose sole purpose was to explain every single metaphor throughout the film. We’d get through a chapter and all of a sudden he would say “wow, like fly fishing?” even though Lars Von Trier’s cuts between the sequence and footage of fly fishing should have been sufficient to get the metaphor across. I love Lars Von Trier’s style in this film, the superimposed footage, the titles on top of the screen, the way he edits. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Even though you can tell Von Trier has a very cynical world view, that doesn’t stop Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 from being a very entertaining picture. I would love to see a version of the film that cuts Seligman’s terrible digressions out though.