Character Analysis Of Justine From Lars Von Trier's Melancholia

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A woman’s wedding day: supposedly the happiest day of her life. Mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers all recount memories from their wedding days such as the white, lacy gown they wore or the cake decorated with purple sugar flowers. Justine from Lars von Trier’s Melancholia presents a new perspective on melancholia and the happiest day of a woman’s life. The wedding, meticulously planned by her sister, Claire, and Claire’s wealthy husband, John, was supposed be a glorious celebration of the love Justine and her husband share. However, Justine’s melancholia, along with the melancholia many other people experience, cannot see dates on a calendar, nor can it understand the expected feelings that surround certain occasions; melancholia …show more content…
Her close family members noticed her melancholia and negatively approached her about it, questioning her sadness and commenting about her ungratefulness for the exquisite wedding that Claire and John so carefully planned. John’s harsh remark of “you’d better be goddamn happy,” evoked a timid, lethargic response of “yes, I should be. I really should be,” from Justine. John’s use of the word goddamn weighs heavier than the rest. The word puts an aggressive spin on the sentence as it is not essential for the sentence’s function. It also adds the feeling that he wants to be ashamed of the melancholia she experiences on her wedding day, a battle that he cannot see from her point of view. Instead of using a collection of words that could potentially lighten her mood, he addresses her with profanity. Better be also refers to the expectation of happiness on her wedding day and how Justine’s behavior opposed the mold that society has grown so accustomed to. Society’s difficulty to see a perspective that defies the norm plays into the isolation Justine experiences during her lowest moments of melancholia because most people assume her feelings without caring enough to ask about …show more content…
The repetition of should stresses how she knows the expectation people have for her on her wedding day but that expectation doesn’t match up with how she feels inside. Her dwelling on how she should/must/ought to feel instead of her actual feelings is considered a cognitive distortion in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: a therapy that focuses on the interaction of one’s thoughts and feelings. Cognitive distortions are rules that govern how we are expected to act which perfectly describes why Justine reiterates the rule that she should be happy on her wedding day. Her response takes a more passive route compared to John’s statement. The way she timidly agrees with him shows how the guilt from her melancholia roots strongly within her core. Since everyone else choses to dismiss her feelings in the first part of the film, it is understood why she might begin to disregard the importance of her melancholia even though it creates such a large adversity in

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