...In the way that The Tree of Life ignored Darwin (the father of the very idea that life resembles a tree, that it has a common source) and spent its entire savings on bankrupt Freudian gibberish, Melancholia lived in a world that had never heard of Newton, or had an adequate science of matter and motion, a physics. You can not play these kinds of games in cinema anymore. Science is real, and so it is a must that serious filmmakers stop making stories that act is if we do not live in a world where science is real, makes real predictions, and has real results.
That said, I love Steven Shaviro's reading of Melancholia. I love it even more than the movie—the true mark of great criticism. He makes many important points, one of which concerns depression:
Many people who have experienced extreme depression (a group in which I include myself) have strongly felt that von Trier gets it right in this movie. He really conveys a sense of what depression feels like. Melancholia traces the contours of depression from the inside, better than any other film I have ever seen. As Trevor Link puts it, in his beautiful essay on the film, von Trier’s “frequent use of jump cuts and changes in focus help convey this puzzling and erratic state that lacks a strong sense of direction… [von] Trier has experienced depression so deeply and gets something about it so precise that his images are entirely suffused with the stillness of the depressive state” (Link 2011).
This significant door into the film, depression, is, I admit, closed to me. I'm familiar with sadness but not with depression. Sadness has no finality to it. You can live, go to work, make love, make dinner, be happy, and still be sad. The sad person never feels the end of the world but sees no end of the world. Sadness is like a slow journey across a deep and dark sea. Sometimes you see the sun, sometimes you see the land, sometimes you see the clouds, sometimes you see nothing. But you keep going.