Movie Review
Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
Nymphomaniac: Vol. II poster
By Craig Younkin     Published April 2, 2014
US Release: April 4, 2014

Directed by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg , Stellan Skarsgård , Willem Dafoe , Jamie Bell

Running Time: 123 minutes
Von Trier meticulously and thoughtfully put this thing together.
Craig Younkin is also a reviewer for Movie Room Reviews

Here’s the halftime report on Lars Von Trier’s four hour sex picture “Nymphomaniac.” Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) has so many holes (some of which emotional) and genitalia seems like the only logical thing to fill up most of them. Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) is the academic who takes the beaten and bruised Joe in and allows her to confess her entire sexual history, and Christian Slater (as Joe’s father) allows his fans to see both the best performance he’s done in decades and also his bare butt in a movie again (rather than the National Enquirer). There, you’re pretty much caught up now.

Here, Joe continues her story, as we see her taking bets on how many ice cream spoons she can put in her "baby maker,” signaling we’re headed into rougher waters. Her "hole" has lost all sensitivity, leaving her frightened and running to Dom (Jamie Bell, who along with Shia LaBeouf in the first film seems too much like Dennis the Menace to take seriously in this type of role) for help. Then Dom christens her with the dog’s name of Fido, ties her up, and whips her with lashes.

As we’ve come to expect, Von Trier digresses back to Joe and Seligman discussing the morals of every sexual encounter she describes, which offer both provocative views on masculine dominance, sexuality that falls outside of the norm, and religious symbolism, as well as things that I’ll admit catapulted right over my head. At its heart this is still a story of a woman who cannot love (the treatment of her infant son concerns) and while Von Trier never really delves into that part of her psyche, Gainsbourg is riveting, digging deeper to find a need that transcends just physical pleasure.

There’s way more titillation in Volume 2 (the film ends with her being a debt collector and really who knew debt collection was so sexually humiliating or could lead to lesbianism?) but you can’t walk into a movie like this and expect not to get eye-molested. The more important thing is that it works as an art film and I can think of very few scenes in its four hour total that feel unnecessary, which show that Von Trier meticulously and thoughtfully put this thing together.
Craig's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
Share, Bookmark