Directed by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Bjork, Catherine Deneuve
"You don't need eyes to see"
Well..............HOW exactly do i go about describing this movie? It's one of those few films i've mentioned before that has left an everlasting impression on me after only one viewing. I don't even KNOW if "impression" is the right word to use. It sounds like too soft of a word............how about, INDENTED INTO MY FUCKING BRAIN FOR ALL FUCKING TIME!!!!!! [breathes]..........ok, ok........i'll calm down.........but seriously, this movie really fucked me side ways emotionally.
I remember when it first came out, the only thing i knew about it was that Bjork was nominated for an Academy Award [to my surprise and joy], and that Bjork turned up to the awards ceremony wearing a now infamous swan dress that came with a matching bird egg purse, haha! oh Bjork! you kooky kooky thing! I'm a Bjork fan, so the movie peaked my interest because she was in it.
Eventually it hit video stores and i picked it up one night. I hadn't read any reviews and i had NO idea what it was about. All i knew was that my older sister had seen it and she told me it left her practically traumatized by the end. She saw it during it's cinema run and she said the entire audience was in tears. Other than that, i knew of Bjork's award nomination and that the film was a critical hit.
So there i was, going into the film blindly.....
The movie starts off very pleasantly. We get introduced to Selma [Bjork], a young mother who has immigrated to America and is working to save money so she may get her son an operation that will stop him from going blind. Selma has this same disease, and for her it's too late, so she spends her days working and drifting off into imaginary musicals to keep herself happy and sane. Selma loves musicals you see............she skips about in her quirky song and dance routines, counting steps and making beats out of metallic clanking sounds and acting merry. It's all very sweet and loving, and it leaves you feeling all "awwww" at the situation. Her poor son.
Turns out life isn't SO sweet though. No, it REALLY isn't. Without giving too much away, we see Selma go from a struggling Mother trying to save her son, to a struggling Mother trying to save HERSELF for something she gets in trouble for. It takes an utterly HEARTBREAKING turn and it leaves you feeling sick and depressed! i'm serious!The movie starts off with Selma doing nothing but smiling and enjoying her fantasies. By the midway point though, the movie is a non stop downward spiral into misery and sadness. We see her shining face turn to loss and sorrow. She sings a song called 'Scatterheart' at one point, it's a song that's about her being DELUDED about the awful events that have just occurred. She sings along pretending the entire incident was make believe. By the end of the song though, reality kicks in again and she ends the song breaking down and realizing how deep she's gone. Watching that transition left me choking. You just feel SO much for this woman, you want to help her so much, but you just know nothing will fix the mess she's in.
I kept watching the film hoping Selma would get a chance to redeem herself and clear her name. Sadly though, it just doesn't get any better.
I was practically rocking back and forth during the final scene in this movie. It was an emotional roller coaster watching the events unfold in front of me. I knew why this movie was ripping the hearts out of people who were watching it world wide. The story completely grabs at your soul and just tears it apart into hundreds of pieces! By the time the credits rolled i really had to sit and absorb the whole thing.
I have only seen this movie 2 times in total. It's NOT the type of film you can watch over and over because it could lose it's impact a little. I like to remember this film as i first saw it, and when i one day watch it again, i'd like it to have been a while so i can absorb it all in again. The movie should be savored.
If you don't like Bjorks style of music, you may find the very few musical numbers a little uninteresting. BUT.........all of the songs flesh out the story, so lyrically you'll get a lot out of them. Aside from that, i can't find ANY other reason as to how anybody could watch this and not be moved in some way by it. Every person i have met you has seen it has always had a very powerful experience watching it. One guy in particular was so distraught by the end of it all, he couldn't even sit through the ending in all it's entirety.
Before i finish my write up on this film, i need to point out how INCREDIBLE Bjork is in this movie. It's a story that she has said was easy for her to relate to, having her own son in real life to reflect on for the part. It's the only serious acting role she's ever undertaken, and i'm not sure how she would do in any other role, but her belief in this one was SO real that it translates POWERFULLY on screen. As i mentioned before, she was nominated for countless awards [and won a few] for her role in this, even an Oscar. She said if she didn't win the award, she'd never act again, apparently the role took a lot out of her. Sadly, she didn't win, and she's stuck to her word, she's never done any acting since. A shame really.
The movie has a very indie feel to it, so i'm not sure if i'd recommend it to everyone. However, for anybody who can handle such a beautifully filmed movie with gut wrenching intensity, you'll be in for a treat. Just take a box of tissues with you when you watch it, you'll need it i assure you. Don't bring a gun though, you may feel inclined to USE IT on yourself by the time it's over. Ha!