Recording star bjork is miraculous as selma a factory worker in ruarl america and single mother who is losing her eyesight from a hereditary disease. Determined to protect her 10-year-old son from the same fate selma is sa... more »ving her money to get him an operation. Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 02/08/2005 Starring: Catherine Deneuve David Morse Run time: 141 minutes Rating: R Director: Lars Von Trier« less
This is one of those movies that polarizes the viewers. You will either understand the purpose of a movie like this and embrace it...or you will not. If you are one who loves Hollywood fare and a good diversion from reality, give a wide berth. However, if you find Hollywood fare a slap in the face and the majority of movies far removed from the real complexities of everyday life, then you will find this cinematic expression a welcome, empathetic, and most especially *cathartic* experience.
For me, this is one of the few movies I could watch over and over again. It's one of those movies that stay with you for several weeks. I'm a rather phlegmatic person. My first viewing on VHS several years ago though left me crying uncontrollably for an hour. I simply could not stop. Thank goodness I watched it alone...heh!
If it is your first viewing of this DVD, turn up the volume and turn out the lights and distractions. It is convoluted piece of work. It is a martyr story. It is a foray into the dark exploring the relationship between living and sight. Bjork's central character, from point A, is on a beeline to her objective...and that is an act of selfless love.
This is also a musical like you have never seen before. Bjork's melodic pieces (goofy as they sometimes are) add an additional level of perception to what's happening on camera. Obtain the lyrics, which are readily available online, so you can understand clearly what is being sung. (Bjork is from Iceland.)
I would recommend this movie to all those souls out there who have ever felt trapped by their circumstances, those who have suffered various types of abuse, and trauma. This movie is HUMAN. If you have an NF temperament (Meyers-Briggs/Keirsey-Bates personality sorter) watch this movie...it was made for YOU.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Marianna S. (Angeloudi) from HOLIDAY, FL Reviewed on 10/21/2008...
This is probably one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life! I can't believe I watched it all the way to its grim conclusion (fast forwarding all the musical numbers such as the sink factory dance routine, the reenactment of the lying lover's murder dance scene and the march to the gallows musical fantasy extravaganza). I am not kidding----those all are part of this inexplicable movie. Bjork plays a Czech immigrant who is slowly going blind from a hereditary eye disease, which her 10 year old son shows symptoms of already. We don't know who her character really is, who the father of her child was, or what makes her tick, other than the fact that she loves musicals. I bought this movie because I love Catherine Deneuve, who plays Bjork's friend and co-worker at the sink factory. However, her English isn't great, and neither is Bjork's. All in all, this movie was a disaster, absolutely ridiculous and with very grim subject matter.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Disturbing as hell, but incredible film
C. Copeland | Springfield, MO USA | 05/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Genre: Drama, Musical
Genre Grade: A+
Final Grade: A+
This is possibly the most depressing movie I've ever seen. It rips you apart over and over again, without any hint of a happy ending. It's about as far from cliche Hollywood as can be, something Lars von Trier is known for. Bjork is an incredible, wonderful actress and I'd love to see her in a happier role, but she has sworn she will never be in another movie because of the emotional difficulties caused from her role in this film.
I am warning you, this movie will madden you, sadden you, and depress the hell out of you. I recommend it to audiences who appreciate art films. It is a musical (great way of challenging the sadness of the film), but mostly it is just a drama about losing everything you could possibly lose for the sake of love and compassion."
Don't watch with any expectations
Peter Imes | Columbus, MS United States | 04/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I can't even believe this film was made and distributed to so many theaters. Don't get me wrong-- I think it may be one of the best movies I have ever seen, but it is SO much different than anything else I can hardly believe someone picked it up to produce and distribute.The movie doesn't know if it is a documentary, drama or musical, but somehow it pulls off being all three. The story is that of a Czech immigrant who works and exists only to pay for a surgery to correct in her son a genetic disease that will eventually render him blind. The acting in the entire film is flawless and it is cast perfectly. The camera angles and visuals were stunning and the soundtrack (by Bjork) is enchanting.I must disagree with other reviewers on a couple of points. The first being that this is a "predictable story" of a character "too weak-willed to defend herself from the forces of 'darkness' enveloping her miserable life". The will of Selma is incredible. Out of guilt from bringing her son into the world, knowing he will inherit the same blinding disease she has, and pure love Selma dedicates her life to saving money to pay for the surgery. She sacrifices everything save occasional viewings of musicals which provide her the sanity she needs to continue. Even when put to the ultimate test- death- she continues. The second point is that there are no happy scenes. Completely false. The sheer beauty of Selma's mission and the musicals she produces in her head define love and happiness respectively. The end of the movie (I won't spoil it for you) is sad but at the same time happy in that Bjork has found her piece after being wronged in so many ways.The first 20 minutes are painfuly slow, but everything comes together. Wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but if you are a fan of "art" films or Indies, definately watch it."
Attilla The Honey | Laramie, WY United States | 09/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Dancer In The Dark" is the stunning film by Lars von Trier that won this year's Cannes Film Festival and stars Icelandic alterna-pop queen Bjork in her film debut. Set in 1964, Bjork plays a woman from Czechoslovakia named Selma who imagines that she is inside of a Hollywood Musical. This musical is not a happy perfect-world musical as so many others are, but packs a stinging bite and a Sondheim-esque dark side. Early on, the conflicts start piling up: Selma's son will go blind if she can't afford to pay for an operation, and her next door neighbor stals all the money she's been trying to save. Then, she is yanked from an small production of "The Sound Of Music" when she is faced with murder charges, and she winds up in prison.As Selma's life gets worse and worse, she retreats farther and farther into her musical-comedy daydreams. She imagines that a celebrity is her father and she's not poor; she imagines herself dancing with the man she's accused of killing. Although Bjork's acting is superb, she has said that she does not want to act again. She said she wants to be a "person of the ears", not a "person of the images".The soundtrack to this film is also done by Bjork. Although the soundtrack its self is rather short (clocking in at a scant 33 minutes), it's lack of duration is made up for in abundance by it's beauty, passion, and intensity. The songs are a strange mix of lush orchestral work and heavy industrial beats. Although it sounds like a strange combination, it is a perfect blend for this film.As a lover of musical theatre, especially motion picture musicals, it is so refreshing to see a new musical being premiered on the screen that isn't trying to live up to it's own tired broadway run. I mean really, other than "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" or "Evita", when was the last really great film musical made? "Annie" back in 1982? "Dancer In The Dark" brings a breath of life to this dying genre. I hope it will not be long bfore we as audiences are able to see many more new musicals hitting the silver screen."
The best movie. Period.
InYourFaceNewYorker | Brooklyn, NY | 02/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I stumbled upon this film by accident back in September when I was calling Moviefone. I had no idea what movie I wanted to see; I just wanted to get out for the night. One of the listed titles was "Dancer in the Dark." The title sounded interesting, so I asked for a plot synopsis. The synopsis sounded interesting, so my roommate and I took the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan to see the film. I went expecting to be moderately entertained and interested. I came out of this movie in complete silence-- I was that amazed by it. I almost cried at the end, and I never cry at movies. The character Bjork plays is down to earth, smart, and believable. She was a strong woman in the face of adversity. I'm sure that if this were a mainstream film, Selma would not be played by Bjork, but by some bimbo sexpot, just so they could get a huge audience for this film... Anyway, the music was amazing. This is not your typical musical, and the music even explores the deep realms of the human mind, and sometimes provides some levity and hopefulness in the face of the odds which are obviously against the character Selma. I get chills down my spine when I hear the song "107 Steps." Questions that are raised by the film: How far would you go for someone you love? How just is the American judicial system? I saw "Dancer in the Dark" for the second time last night, and I had the same reaction as before, if not more intense. My best friend came all the way to NYC from Philly just to see it with me, as it cannot be found anywhere else. She said it was worth the 2 hour trip, and I cannot agree more. Don't wait for it to come on video-- even if you have to travel a couple hours. It's like seeing a Broadway show in that it's an intense experience that cannot be duplicated on the TV in your living room. My question: Why can't more movies be like this? The minds that came up with it were incredible."
A complex & devastating work of art
InYourFaceNewYorker | 06/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is so much pain going on in "Dancer in the Dark," it's almost impossible to begin to explain. But one thing that I can say is that it was one of the most original and nostalgic (in its fallback on being a musical) and devastating movies I've ever seen. Believe me, only the truly perceptive and seeking filmgoers will understand and appreciate the film's message. However, one thing that was a little distracting (yet, also, I think it added to the rawness of film and its subject matter) was the shaky camera work close-ups. At times, you'll want to spring for the bottle of asprin to overcome an oncoming headache via watching the film, but restrain. Just finish the movie. If the headache is still there, then you've experienced "Dancer in the Dark." The last 10 minutes of this movie is probably the most riveting, suspenseful and adrenaline-pumping movie sequence I've ever seen. Bjork's voice, facial expressions and inner emotion bleed through her body in a way that is both unsettling and undeniably powerful. I must say that I'm no Bjork music fan, but the songs in the film did touch me. They were so radical, so inventive, so simple and bizarre, if you will, that it's almost impossible to not simply appreciate them for being so outlandish. But nonetheless, the movie is really about suffering. You can draw many symbolisms to Selma's (Bjork) lonely, simple and heartbreaking character, one being almost christological. (that may be a stretch, but it's valid if you look closely at the film, what Selma's purpose was and how she was "wrongly" accused in a sense and then attempted to be put to death) Either way though, it still is a pretty amazing movie. I can't believe I wrote this much. Movies that make me want to write this much about them are truly unique. "Dancer in the Dark" is one of the precious few. Devastatingly powerful and unflinchingly raw. See it. (all of it)"