Melancholia + Saying All of the Things You’ve Wanted to Say

Posted by Kevin Nguyen

It’s a shame that last year’s Melancholia will be better-remembered for director Lars von Trier’s Nazism jokes (tastelessly expressed at, of all places, the Cannes Film Festival) than its brave, unconventional response to the apocalypse.

Although judging from these squirm-inducing GIFs of Kirsten Dunst, seated next to von Trier while he was making said un-PC comments, you’d think the world was ending too:

But Melancholia is the finest, most interesting apocalyptic film to date. The movie is divided into two acts: the first is Dunst’s wedding reception, where she acts bewilderingly ungrateful and fatalistic; in the entirely different second act, a distant planet (Melancholia) is headed on a collision course with Earth.

Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Dunst’s level-headed sister, and faced with the crippling mortality of everything, suddenly Dunst’s aloof cynicism seems more rational than Gainsbourg’s dissolving pragmatism. And if the world is ending, I can’t think of a better time to embrace one’s inner-jerk.

Whereas Hank, the detective in The Last Policeman, continues his investigations despite the fact that an asteroid is set to collide with Earth, I’d surrender all pretenses of being a friendly, productive human being. Because when I’m really honest with myself, I have no interest in being a nice person.

You see, at the end of the world, there’s no legacy — no one to remember how rotten you were in your final days, no last judgment. There’s just the pure satisfaction of saying all of the things you’ve wanted to say.

A few things I would say:

+ My friend Chad: “I’ve always been embarrassed to have a friend named Chad.”

+ Steelers fans: “You are all the worst people on Earth. Also don’t please hurt me.”

+ President Obama: “I agree with all your policies, but even if I didn’t, I’d probably still vote for you because you’re so handsome.”

+ All of my exes: “I’m still in love with you.”

I would also punch anyone who was listening to R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World.”

Truthfully though, I would probably never say any of these things, even if the world was ending. Instead, I’d probably just sit in my apartment and watch Melancholia a few more times. That movie is so good!

Kevin Nguyen is a writer / editor living from Seattle. Follow him on Twitter via @knguyen, and check out his website