Movie Review
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I
Nymphomaniac: Vol. I poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 22, 2014
US Release: March 21, 2014

Directed by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg , Christian Slater , Jamie Bell , Stellan SkarsgŚrd

Running Time: 118 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $763,000
55 of 111
The acting is all fine but as per usual for a Lars von Trier production, I didnít have any emotional investment.
Lars von Trierís risquť drama Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 has plenty of material that will keep it from making some decent money at the box office, plus itís also NC-17 so most casual movie theaters wonít play it. The film starts off super pretentiously in a mysterious alleyway where our central female character almost appears dead on the ground and we soon gather the pieces that she was beaten and left to die. But a nice and thoughtful man comes to her aid and wants to give her shelter and wants to know what exactly happened to her up until this point, and the rest of the film consists of flashback memories of her sexual history.

She turned into a nymphomaniac in her early adolescence after she gave selective permission to a reclusive dick who she allowed to basically rape her immediately upon meeting to lose her virginity. To give you an idea of the type of picture this is, she and a best friend at one point take a trip on a train and give each other a contest as to how many random men they can allure from compartments to have sex. The central character has been wired to rebel against all the normal customs in life and it didnít help much that her mother while growing up wasnít compassionate even though her father was a good man. The story involves the various men she happened to have meaningless sex with over the many years and raises the question of just how long it will all still last. If youíre looking for a deep-meaning film, this isnít it, but on the other hand itís also not just porn. Thereís plenty of nudity, even on both sides of genders, but itís not softcore porn in disguise because thereís a story behind it and the nudity doesnít last long.

The only thing that I took issue with in this department which almost made me nauseous was a long montage of the endless penises that she has encountered with elaborate descriptions. We get super-close-up shots of all the penises sheís had inside of her and I didnít need this part. When the sequence began, I cocked my head in disbelief and thought ďAre you serious? Are you really going to do this?Ē and kind of looked around me in the theater to see if anybody else had my reaction. On one hand it is called Nymphomaniac so I shouldíve been ready but to me this just wasnít necessary. And the filmmaker is indeed Lars von Trier, who you pretty much come to expect the impossible with. This is hardly the material that is going to catch on with audiences but then again, Trier is very limited. He makes films that are going to please him exclusively and then just hopes a little bit of money is made.

The acting is all fine but as per usual for a Lars von Trier production, I didnít have any emotional investment and was hoping the script would go deeper than it did. If an acting showcase is what youíre exclusively looking for, look no further, but if you need to actually care about what is happening to each and every character, youíre going to be out of luck with this one. The film is rather pretentious but couldíve been worse and I thought it was slightly more tolerable than his last expedition, Melancholia, which I was tempted to walk out of like I did at Dogville but refrained. This is a super experimental film and doesnít play on a typical structure and youíd find this out throughout, especially with the finale which just ends in the middle of a scene with promise for more. The film ends on a cliffhanger in the middle of a sex scene and youíre either going to want to come back for the sequel to see what happens after the sex scene or be careless and give up like I am going to. I was planning on coming back for part two but I donít really feel like going through this all over again. None of the characters made me want to know more and so I am going to pass on seeing Volume 2 in theaters.
Lee's Grade: C
Ranked #55 of 111 between Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (#54) and 22 Jump Street (#56) for 2014 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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'Nymphomaniac: Vol. I' Articles
  • Craig's review B+
    March 22, 2014    {Lars von Trier} continuously keeps this film both provocative and moving, and leaves us wondering what Volume 2 could possibly hold. -- Craig Younkin
  • Crowd Report Analysis: Nymphomaniac
    March 22, 2014    In West LA the film enjoyed healthy attendance at its one art-house on opening day and I calculated that it was likely grossing between $6,500 and 7,500. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1 Outlook
    March 18, 2014    Thereís an audience for everything, on some level, and Lars von Trier's few fans are going to be showing up. -- Lee Tistaert