Justine betrays her husband
We see Justine leaving her wedding and going to the garden of the villa while a man follows her. She then turns to him and they have a sexual affair. The director described this scene as ‘The Empty Rituals of Reality’ because Justine couldn’t find herself in her own wedding.
Justine is melancholic
The director described Justine as ‘a melancholic character by the grace of God’. Justine is just like the planet melancholia. She’s striving to find her place in the world and believes that it’s full of empty rituals like her wedding.
To Justine, immorality does not exist
To Justine, having sex is nothing more than an act of arbitrariness that holds no more significance than holding someone’s hand. That’s why she thinks infidelity isn’t a bad thing.
Part 1: Justine is depressed
Justine goes through a course of depression as the film progresses so Claire (her sister) asks her to move in so that she could look after her. She stays in bed all day and only gets up so her sister could feed her or bathe her.
Justine learns about melancholia
Justine finally feels better when she learns about melancholia (a planet that will crush earth). The director explains this as follows: Justine who always felt like a stranger on earth feels more at home when she learns that the world is coming to an end. (See Lights Out Movie Explanation)
Claire thrives to stay in the world
Claire is very different than her sister Justine. She’s a sensible women who’s unlike Justine. She’s eager to stay in the her world with her family. Through the whole film, we see her panicking about melancholia and she only feels happy when there’s a slight possibility that the world isn’t ending.
Clair’s husband commits suicide
Before reaching the part of the film where melancholia collides into earth, John, Clair’s husband, decides to commit suicide by taking some pills because he couldn’t stand waiting for death anymore. (See The Thinning (2016) Movie Explained)
The intro is a sum up
The film opens with a summary of the whole plot where we see the face of the actress Kirsten Dunst as Justine, a seemingly depressed women. We also see Claire carrying her child, a painting of a wintry hunting scene and a view of space.
Justine is smart
Despite Justine being a person who had family issues that led to her depression, she’s smart. On her wedding day, her employer mentioned how good she is at her job and he wanted to promote her from copywriter to art director.
Justine’s mother and the business man
The film’s screenwriter wanted to portray the single-minded characters in two personalities, the businessman who only thinks about business, and Justine and Claire who argued loudly during the wedding about how she’s against the idea of marriage.
Micheal is a good person
Compared to Justine, Micheal (Justine’s groom) portrayed a very caring and understanding mate. He understood her mood swings during the wedding, took her into a room and showed her a picture of a land with apple trees that he bought for them and made her promise to keep it.
Melancholia is a metaphor
The planet melancholia is a metaphor for depression. In the film, the planet melancholia was a hidden planet that scientists discovered it will collide into earth without anyone knowing. Same goes for depression; it’s an emotional state that will hide for years then arrive and destroy everything.
Melancholia (2011) Movie Explanation
Melancholia (2011): Movie Plot Ending Explained | Melancholia (2011) Film Summary and Explanation