(Lars Von Trier)
R, 120 minutes
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe
At the end of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Volume I, the psychologically damaged, sex-crazed heroine Joe (played by Stacy Martin as a young woman, and Charlotte Gainsbourg in middle age) reconnects with Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf), the man she’s lusted after since she was a teenager. But then Joe finds she’s become sexually numb, incapable of orgasm. This is where Volume II begins, with Joe and Jerôme living a life of uneasy domesticity, raising a child together and spending every spare minute in bed. Or at least that’s where part of Volume II begins. As with the first volume of Nymphomaniac, there’s a framing device, with the bruised older Joe continuing to tell her story to a curious bookworm named Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who interrupts her with comments and reference-points, like a human Wikipedia. There are two stories happening simultaneously in Nymphomaniac, and by the end of Volume II, it’s even clearer that Joe’s relationship with Seligman—however brief—is one of her most important.
Noel Murray, The Dissolve.