Film Review: Brutal Next Chapter Defines ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’

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CHICAGO – The exploration of sexuality is a stark breakthrough in the “Nymphomaniac” film series by writer/director Lars von Trier. In the story of a woman interacting with her nature, there are shades of all physically active individuals. “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1” covered the younger days of the main character of Joe. Vol. 2 takes her to the next, and more brutal phase – challenging her life and her disposition. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This chapter is much darker, and contains von Trier’s characteristic pessimism on the human condition. The heroine Joe goes through numerous examinations of her strong carnal intuition and there are negative consequences in every unlit corner. The two films work separately. Vol. 1 is relatively more matter of fact – Joe does create chaos through her early sex life, but seems to find some semblance of connection. In Vol. 2, the reason she is found bloodied in an alley is revealed. Taken together – as originally envisioned by the filmmaker – the two chapters may blend the story better. Separately, Vol. 2’s darkness is sadder and more punishing. Does Joe really deserve what she gets?

As in Vol. 1, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) has been rescued by Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard, and in exchange is telling her life story of nymphomania to her attendant. In flashback, the younger Joe (Stacy Martin) is now relatively domestic, even having a child with her lover Jerome (Shia LaBeouf). Her sexual appetite changes physically, but doesn’t abate psychologically, and soon she is practicing an open relationship.

As her desire for experimentation continues, she begins sessions with a “therapist” named K (Jamie Bell) and it drives her away from Jerome. She then becomes a societal outsider, and begins to make a living as a collector for a mysterious Mr. L (Willem Dafoe). He suggests she take an apprentice, and so she adopts a young girl named P (Mia Goth). This addition to her life will also begin her downfall, her path to Seligman.

“Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2” has a limited release, including Chicago, on April 4th. Featuring Charlotte Gainsborg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater and Willem Dafoe. Written and directed by Lars von Trier. Not Rated, but contains sexually graphic scenes.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2”

Mia Goth, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg, left) Takes on the Apprentice P (Mia Goth) in ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2”

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