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The “Melancholia” Film Essay

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Updated: May 7th, 2019

The film Melancholia (2011) can be regarded as a very good illustration of Freud’s vision of such psychological state as melancholia. The film focuses on Justine’s psychological state. She is facing certain difficulties. In her case, it is the loss of some illusions and beliefs. Her world is ruined and she suffers from melancholia. It is necessary to note that the film is full of symbols with its major symbolic representation of melancholia.

Seemingly, Justine has no reason for being unhappy or devastated. Wedding is one of the most enjoyable experiences for any bride. However, this day becomes one of the unhappiest for the protagonist as she understands that her life is full of delusions.

According to Freud, people who lose close ones often endure sever psychological ‘turmoil’. They can also experience anger which is often targeted at their own ego. In other words, they start blaming themselves for their problems. This makes them feel unhappy and anxious. This is just the case with Justine. She experiences many losses.

First, she loses her mother. It does not mean her mother dies. However, she dies in a certain way. She insults Justine during the wedding (which is supposed to be the happiest day of her life) and the young woman alienates from her mother, i.e. she loses her mum. She is also enduring some difficulties concerning her job.

Thus, she loses interest in the job which is full of disappointment. She is also alienated from her husband and loses him as she cheats on him on the day of their wedding. Finally, she is alienated from her sister and loses the connection with her, too. All these losses make Justine angry and anxious. This anger is targeted at her own ego. She is blaming herself. She does not understand her psychological state as the anger and frustration are only symptoms of melancholia.

Remarkably, the film provides a symbolic representation of Freud’s theory. The planet is representation of the anger. Thus, a person accumulates anger, which is a result of multiple losses (or a single loss). This anger is revealed for some time. Thus, a person can be rude with others. However, soon this anger acquires another target, the person’s ego.

The anger attacks the person’s ego and this often leads to self-destruction. Likewise, the planet is first seen in the sky. Then it disappears. However, it comes back soon and collides with the Earth. The planet is representation of Justine’s anger and the Earth is Justine’s ego. Thus, Justine’s melancholia leads to her self-destruction.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the film under consideration illustrates Freud’s theory on melancholy. The film shows several days from a young woman’s life who is suffering from melancholia. The film also reveals the reasons for the woman’s state, i.e. a number of losses. It is possible to state that Justine is a conventional patient suffering from melancholia.

Apart from presentation of particular symptoms, the film also reveals a schematic representation of Freud’s theory. The movement of the planet represents people’s anger that is targeted at people’s ego which leads to self-destruction. Admittedly, the film helps better understand Freud’s theories as it provides a specific story of a woman. Admittedly, many people can recognize themselves in some of the characters. Thus, the story is quite true to life save the collision of the two planets.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The "Melancholia" Film." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/melancholia/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The "Melancholia" Film'. 7 May.

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