“Fill all my holes, fill all my holes,” says nymphomaniac Joe, several times throughout Lars Von Trier’s epic two-part film, spanning a total of 241 minutes.
The visually beautiful cinematic feat tells the story of a woman named Joe whose life is steered by a sickening and insatiable addiction to sex. It is a story that begins and ends with a frustrated cunt.
Like any addict, Joe will never get enough. There will never be enough cock to fill her holes, never enough lovers to keep her satisfied. Her sorrows can’t be drowned in cum and she spends her life chasing one orgasm with the next; a desperate attempt to escape loneliness, to feel human and whole.
The film begins with a weathered, cut and and limp Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) barely conscious, lying on cold pavement. She is discovered and rescued by passerby Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) and led back to his home. The stranger invites her to rest in a sparse guest room and a bond is quickly formed.
Steligman pulls a chair to her bedside and both he and the audience settle in to hear Joe tell her long and sordid story. “I discovered my cunt at age 2,” she says between sips of hot tea.
After a few scenes from Joe’s childhood, we then skip ahead to a fifteen-year-old horny and curious Joe (Stacy Martin). Hair tightly braided and white knee socks pulled high (how original) she politely asks a greasy mechanic to take her virginity.
With a few aggressive cold thrusts, the deed is done. She walks away sore, but hungry for more. From this point on, Joe fucks countless men, over and over and over and over.
The close-up shots of spit slowly dripping on a freshly sucked cock or teenage ass peeking from tight vinyl shorts may elicit a quick quiver to the groin but 90% of the sex in this film feels more like a scab being penetrated by a rusty drill.
Like the alcoholic who drinks until she pukes and drinks some more, or the heroin user who has shot his arm too many times to find a vein, the sex addict too begins to rot, inside and out.
From basement flogging to mental health, Nymphonmaniac will spark interesting, emotional and heated discussion that touch on a variety of themes. I suppose it’s a must-see for film students and cinephiles but be warned: this story will leave most feeling a mixture of anger, nausea and disgust.
The poster shows 9 faces, wild and free mid-orgasm; don’t expect to want to go home and touch yourself.
Nymphomaniac Volume 1 and Volume 2 is now playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Check website for showtimes.