A middle-aged bachelor (Stellan Skarsgård) finds a woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in an alley covered with bruises. He takes her home and nurses her wounds. In return, she tells him her life story: her name is Joe and she is a nymphomaniac. Even as a child, Joe was aware that she was different and that she possessed an inordinate craving for sex uncomplicated by love and jealousy. Then, she met Jerome (Shia LaBeouf), her boss, who disappears without warning but not before raising her awareness—sex is good, but love is the missing ingredient. Her journey to find this missing ingredient will put her in some strange situations.
This is part 1 of a 2 part film by art house director Lars Von Trier and it is not for everyone! Nymphomaniac contains sexually explicit situations that leaves nothing to the imagination. The film’s all-star cast includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard (Insomnia), Willem Dafoe, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Shia LaBeouf as Jerome, and Stacy Martin as the teenaged Joe. This film challenges the social conventions of sexuality through a woman who pursues her desires openly while eschewing any emotional intimacy with or responsibility for those affected, including men to whom she declares false feelings to entire families these men abandon to be with her. The film works sociologically as well as a metaphor of how society’s growing appetite for and desensitization to stimulation is alienating us from ourselves and the emotional needs of others, a theme similar to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 film called Salo, based on Marquis De Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. Instead of pleasure, that film describes civilization rotting to a point where it is incapable of distinguishing pleasure from shit. The film was (and still remains) extremely controversial and is still banned in many countries. Charlotte Gainsbourg is incredible in this film, Nymphomaniac, as she is in Lars Von Trier’s 2009 film, AntiChrist, which also stars Willem Dafoe. Since leaving the Transformers franchise behind, Shia LaBeouf has become a seriously good actor (He is stellar in this film). There are many topics to be extracted from this intelligent film and I look forward to getting your analysis of it.