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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac

REVIEW: Nymphomaniac

From the very controversial Danish writer-director Lars Von Trier, comes the most provocative  film of the year.  Make that years. And make that films.  Because  part two is on the way the first weekend of april  and a 5-and-a-half  hour  director’s cut is also on the way. In Europe, “Nymphomanic” was released as one 4-hour orgy. We  get 2 movies filled  with the sexistory of the British  Joe, played by two actresses: newcomer Stacy Martin and Trier favorite Charlotte Gainesbourg.

The title says it all.  We get the entire sexual history of Joe. From childhood to the present . The full monty. Not just the actresses. There’s Shia LaBeouf in all his  glory. And Christian Slater’s bare butt.  Yes- this most sexual mainstream  film ever . We’re talking  big name stars, including Uma Thurman ,  Connie Nielsen and Stellan Skarsgard, who is the seemingly kind, sympathetic  man  who hears Joe’s confession .  Willem Dafoe and Jamie Bell join  the lineup in  part 2.  Not  everyone is nude and/or having sex. 

Uma has the funniest  scene  as  a cheater’s wife who takes her 3 young sons to Joe’s apartment  asking if it would be alright “if I showed the children the whoring bed”.

Yes, this is a comedy at times.  I’m not sure he meant it as comedy but Shia LaBeouf’s accent kept morphing from Brit to German.

As you ask yourself, am I really watching Shia LaBeouf have sex with this  girl,  the answer is no. The stars are NOT  the ones  having sex. Porn star body parts are spliced in. That’s some flawless  editing.  So no,  you  don’t see LaBeouf in the act, though he has claims on record he had real sex on screen . Then there’s the penis  montage. A  close to 2 minute long slideshow of penises of all sizes and shapes, both circumsized and not.

This film dabbles in more than sex. We’re talking everything from religion to math, art and even fly fishing.  Yes, it goes into how-to mode with fly fishing.  I never knew trolling for sex is like “reading the river”.

This one is maddeningly artsy at times. The film opens  to a black screen.  For more than a minute.  There’s the sound of rain. It feels like an eternity watching the rain on the buildings and trash cans.  That kind of artsy.

“Nymphomaniac”  is highly entertaining. And highly frustrating. We never get the answer to the begging  question:  why did Joe become a self-professed nymphomaniac??? And at what point did she start enjoying sex??  Maybe we don’t get those answers  because  it’s a man’s view of female  sexuality. It’s Lars Von Trier’s  exploration of female  sexuality.

I guarantee  you will have a hard (excuse the pun) time trying to stop  talking or thinking about this film.  It truly is one of a kind.  Or two of a kind.  Coming in two weeks:  a review of “Nymphomanic 2”.  Oh- part one  is in theaters and on demand.  And you can see part two on demand now.


3-and-a-half  stars


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