Netflix Sci-Fi Apocalypse Tragedy Is A Star-Studded Drama

By TeeJay Small | Published


If you’re looking for an off-the-wall sci-fi fantasy film to warp your mind this week, look no further than 2011’s Melancholia. The film, which was written and directed by controversial Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, is currently available to stream on Netflix, for those who haven’t yet had the chance to catch it, or those simply in need of a rewatch. Melancholia is the second in a series of thematically tied works by the acclaimed director, unofficially titled the Depression trilogy.

The Depression Trilogy


Like Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, the Depression trilogy sees Lars von Trier honing in on a certain thematic vibe or concept, and delivering three unrelated movies which elaborate on the central theme, with a shared actor at the epicenter.

The first film in the unofficial trilogy is 2009’s Antichrist, with 2013’s Nymphomaniac capping off the collection. Like the two aforementioned films, Melancholia stars Charlotte Gainsbourg.

The Cast

Gainsbourg is joined in the cast by a wide array of other talented performers, including Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Brady Corbet, John Hurt, and Spider-Man‘s Kirsten Dunst. Like many of his other films, Lars von Trier has admitted that he worked on much of Melancholia while self-medicating his own depression with heavy alcohol consumption, which shines through in the dour and heart-breaking vibe of the final product.

Likewise, Kirsten Dunst has expressed that she had just completed treatment for getting over severe depression before signing on to lead in the film.

Rogue Planet


The movie opens with a sequence explaining that a rogue planet is on a collision course with Earth, destined to wipe out all life as we know it, and sending people all over the globe into a full-blown panic. The plot of Melancholia centers on a pair of sisters, Justine and Claire, as they attempt to cope with the impending end of the world in vastly different ways.

The first section of the film focuses specifically on the chronically depressed and often manic Justine, who impulsively decides to get married to a man that she doesn’t truly love.

A Memorable Ending

The wedding ceremony is marred with a variety of negativity, including Justine’s divorced parents who refuse to be civil with one another throughout the day, as well as Justine’s imposing employer, who demands that she work in the middle of her wedding reception.

By the end of the night, Justine cheats on her newly wedded husband, calls off the marriage, and falls back into a deep depression. All the while, a rogue planet named Melancholia begins eclipsing the stars as it makes a beeline for Earth’s atmosphere.

The second half of the film is dedicated to Claire, who is dealing with a deep depression of her own, not helped by her melodramatic sister nor the impending destruction of all life on Earth.

As a number of strange omens continue to signal the end of life as we know it, Claire becomes increasingly erratic, eventually facing down her demise alongside her loved ones. Melancholia‘s gut-wrenching soundtrack and horrifying sci-fi visuals make its ending moments some of the most memorable in film history.

Stream It Now


The film was a firm contender for the esteemed Palme d’Or award at Cannes Film Festival, and ultimately took home Best Actress at the event for Kirsten Dunst‘s performance. If you’re interested in catching Melancholia today, it’s currently available to stream on Netflix. Just be sure to have some tissues nearby, because you’re all but guaranteed to shed a few tears as the film builds to its thrilling climax.