In spite of my subject title, I ‘liked’ Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 I in the same way that I enjoyed my Masters Degree in Counseling training. Meaning, while it was nerdish fun to learn about dysfunction, after 15 years of the weight of helping people, I ran gladly back to the classroom. As Bradbury eloquently wrote in Fahrenheit 451, at least a book we can close.
Nymphomania is a great cautionary tale, a look what happens when addiction goes too far piece. How people (in this case Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character) can be neurologically compromised by addiction, so far gone that re-training is all but impossible.
But in my mind, film should be moving, which necessitates a roundness. And in Nymphomania I just felt flat and utter loss, with the great exception of Uma Thurman’s jilted wife scene. In this scene, we round out the tragic with the absurdity of a wife who drops her husband off at his lover’s (nympho) house and shows her three young son’s the whore’s bed, “daddy’s favorite place”. To me, adding folly to a depressing situation allows us as an audience a release and therefore a greater appreciation for darker moments.
And I am sure I am not the only naive person who skipped to the viewing of this like, “Sex? I like sex, this’ll be great!” Which in hindsight is pretty absurd, like skipping to a documentary about eating addictions because you like Hostess Twinkies. It’s not at all about the sex, and most of the coital scenes in Nympho I are akin to watching cows screwing, dead eyed and simply humping without conscience (which might be a great band name-Humping Without Conscience, send me some royalties, please:)
I’ve heard rumors that the ending of Nymphomaniac II has hints of Von Triers mocking us as the audience. Any kind of laughter would be a plus. Perhaps round 2 will be more rubenesque, or is the joke that now I’m addicted.:)