Forget About Love: Nymphomaniac Review

Charlotte-Gainsbourg-NymphomaniacOn Monday I went straight from work into a four hour sex film.

Not just any four hour sex film, you understand (I’m not that continental), but Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (Vol. I & II).

I’m going to start my review by first saying a few things. Firstly, there is a lot of fucking involved so there is no skirting around that. Nymph is a story about sex addiction, the destruction of lives as a direct consequence of said addiction and the journey from self-hatred to acceptance, so if it hadn’t been full of scenes of rutting I would have been surprised.

Since the story is being handled by von Trier, who has scarred me for life in the past, I would expect nothing less. Secondly, I’m not going to waffle on about the story line. All I will say is that one evening a man finds a woman knocked out in an alleyway and, since she is reluctant to go to the hospital, takes her home. Once there, she tells him, in great graphic detail, the history of her erotic life.

Finally, my last comment before I give my thoughts: on checking out IMDB’s reviews for Nymph, I was hard pressed to find a positive summary. This intrigued me so I went digging and I can honestly say, I don’t get it. I get that not everybody is able to handle such eye-opening scenes of sex and violence. Fine. But nothing I found in many of those reviews rang true for me. My only conclusion is that there are people out there who have been swayed by the controversy and are unwilling to see beyond the ‘porn’.

However, I bloody loved it.nymphomaniac-stacy-martin-sophie-kennedy-clark-slice

Yes the main protagonist, Joe, does a lot of shagging. She starts young and keeps on trucking. Some of the practices she involves herself in make me wince, even though I can understand the compulsion. The cast is good looking for the most part which is handy as you see them naked quite a bit.

The acting has been one of the most criticised parts in the reviews I have read, but I don’t agree. Sure, Shia LeBeouf‘s accent is confusing (South African? Danish?) but he does a fair job as Jerome. Young Joe is incredible; a brave and bright eyed Lolita. Uma Thurman completely steals the first instalment with her passive aggressive-on-acid turn and Christian Slater is a total DILF (thank God for eye candy).

Nymphomaniac-Poster-Jamie-Bell-is-KNymph is really funny. Like, laugh out loud hilaire. There are moments of genuine comedy that I wasn’t prepared for. I think the concept of the not knowing what to expect made me go in with an uneasy feeling and what I saw was touching, funny, beautiful and grimy; a cornucopia of emotion.

All in all, I think it should be seen. I’ve spent the last few days talking about it and plenty of people have asked me how it was. Nobody cared this much about my opinion on Cuban Fury, funnily enough.

So, I will say this: if you want to watch something a bit different, have four hours (FOUR HOURS) to spare and aren’t opposed to looking at a lot of bodily fluid/penises/vaginas/gerbils, then why not? You could do worse.

I also think that the scenes I most enjoyed were the scenes with Jamie Bell. I fancy him, of course but I found them/him intriguing. Without Spoiler Alerting all over the shop, his influence over the Older Joe (the brilliant Charlotte Gainsbourg) is disturbing but somehow, the easiest to understand.

This could just be lust for the grown up Billy Elliott, or… I have a hidden sadomasochist lurking deep inside.

Happy shagging, Campers!