Posts From Author: breaking the waves

“Hey Joe, where are you going…?”: Lars von Trier’s NYMPH()MANIAC, Vol. II

SPOILERS throughout! Also, well worth seeing Vol. I, which I reviewed here, before seeing Vol. II, which offers no recap for the uninitiated. NYMPH()MANIAC Vol. II is a fist to the throat, a film raw with despair. It picks up where Vol. I left off, with Joe’s anguish over her sudden loss of sexual feeling, and documents the lengths to which she goes to feed her mania and achieve a sense of wholeness. Vol. II is the evil twin of Vol. I. A.O. Scott in the New York Times wrote that Vol. I is “(relatively speaking) the fun part”. Well, the playfulness and humour are largely gone, replaced with scenes of such deep unpleasantness that one of my fellow audience members was moved to say Damn! five times over the course of the film. Monogamy with Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf) and motherhood have left Joe (Stacy Martin, then Charlotte Gainsbourg) unfulfilled. Her sexual appetites grow more extreme and more niche. She decides at first that she must attempt sex without possible recourse to verbal communication, and manages to procure a couple of African men (Kookie Ryan and Papou) from the street opposite her flat. Still not satisfied, she applies to become the object in a sadomasochistic salon run by the colourless, ascetic […]
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