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348 Reviews
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't watch with any expectations
First of all, I can't even believe this film was made and distributed to so many theaters. Don't get me wrong-- I think it may be one of the best movies I have ever seen, but it is SO much different than anything else I can hardly believe someone picked it up to produce and distribute.
The movie doesn't know if it is a documentary, drama or musical, but somehow it...
Published on April 10, 2001 by Peter Imes

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really Good and Really Bad
There are aspects of this film that are incredibly good and so many that are horrendously bad, that it's really difficult to review this film honestly.
To begin with, Bjork does a wonderful job in the role of Selma. She plays the role with a pure, natural quality and a directness that blends perfectly with the documentary/home-movie quality of the direction and the...
Published on November 21, 2003 by F. A. Kronyak


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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Movie I've Ever Seen., May 28, 2001
By 
Vespertine (Washington State) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
Yes, some people may not like this movie for it's jerky camera movemens, slow beginning, and strange musical outbursts, but those are only what the shallow people would say. With this incridible movie, you must give it your full attention, as if you were listening to one of Bjork's CD's. And, if you didn't cry at the end of this movie, you definetly need to check your pulse. Bjork not only played the part of Selma--she became Selma, and that's what astounds me. She put her heart and soul into becoming this character, and it shined throughout the movie. This movie was more than a mother giving all she has to save her son--it was a trip in the mind of a person with a heart of gold. I highly, highly recommend this movie. You will never see anything like it again--I can promise you that.
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9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars boring and manipulative, August 28, 2005
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
This movie is quite overrated. The music is repetitive and doesn't have the energy needed to really excite me emotionally. The most annoying thing about the work is the jerky camera movements that try to make this look like a 'documentary', a 'filmed on the spot' sort of thing. This doesn't allow one to be really engrossed in the movie, and it probably doesn't belong in a work that tries to show its main character's imagination and flights of fancy. But most importantly, the movie is really, really, really full of plot holes. Firstly, why did Kathy not testify for her friend, since she helped her cheat on the eye doctor's exam? She knew Kathy was really blind, so why did she just sit in the audience and cry? Secondly, how could Kathy have gotten the money to pay the lawyer since it had already been given to the doctor for Gene's operation? Surely he wouldn't have given it back to any stranger coming by asking about his patients. Thirdly, from a stranger's point of view, if Selma really cold-heartedly planned the murder of her landlord, why would she allow his wife, who witnessed part of the event, escape?

There are films where the plot matters little, and serves a purpose only as to explore the characters or a particular situation. However, I did not get the feeling after watching this movie that we are to leave the plot alone, and concentrate on other subtle messages from the film. The supposed 'power' in this movie depends very much on plot--and its inconsistencies only make the story, and its overall message, very hard to believe.

Besides these problems, the director tries to evoke emotion through cheap, tear-jerker methods. From Jeff's "I love you", to the guard's "I know you love your son very much" to the executioner's penchant for sticking to regulations, von Trier relies too much on cardboard villains and the beautiful-and-unblemished-but-lost-heroine type. In the end, it was just not at all believable or emotionally-appeling. During the last hour or so, I kept checking my watch to see when this mediocrity would finally finish.
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9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating, January 7, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
First off let me state that I have always hated Bjork's music. However, I tried to set aside the fact that she makes my ears bleed to watch this film as it received such great reviews.
I must have watched a different movie.
The attempt to make the audience a "voyeur" to the action with understated acting and unsteady shots fell flat. It feels more like a high school film class project - first walk through. The lines felt read, not delivered, the camera angles are nauseating, Bjork's greasy hair and face (stop touching your face woman!) makes one want to take a shower.
This felt like a Scandinavian film, but it was set in America. I could never get past my feeling that it would play better as a quirky foreign film.
Those songs! Granted, most musical lyrics are pretty banal, but these take the cake. "You just did what you had to do (repeat ad nauseum)" sung by a dead man with Bjork screeching "I just did what I had to (repeat ad nauseum)" lead me to make up my own song lyrics. Most of my lyrics had to do with my wish for Bjork's slow, painful death.
By halfway through I was watching the clock praying for either the end, or the aforementioned slow, painful death. But I just had to see the ending. I had heard that the end was heart wrenching and a masterpiece. People had told me that they cried harder than they had ever cried before in a movie. (GREAT!) That and I am a masochist.
The only tears I shed at the end where in gratitude that it was over, and from laughing so hard.
What's good about this film? Catherine Deneuve. And the fact that it could be used for Psy-Ops in making terrorists surrender and talk. If it's not considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Geneva convention.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Distracted by her dirty teeth., April 27, 2010
By 
Gore-Hound (melbourne, australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
I'm not usually the type to be distracted by small things but the state of bjork's teeth put me off her amazing performance. Honestly, don't know why she has so much plaque, there's not excuse for it.

Apart from that, well-directed, moving, exceptional film. The most-touted ending was shocking and expected. Bjork was brilliant in the role as were all the actors/actresses.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The utimate assault of all senses, November 13, 2003
By 
Dogville (Sunny Island) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
After watching Dancer In The Dark, I wowed never to watch it again. Not that it's no good, it's so good that at the end of the two-and-a-half hours, I was completely drained of all emotions while feeling utterly depressed as the film moves on.

Always worthy of mention is Bjork whose transition from a cool avant garde Icelandic singer to a musical-movie actress is very much commendable and credible. Her raw emotions and unpolished acting have been the biggest factor in making this movie work. Interspersed with well-choreographed musical moves throughout, Bjork brings to life Selma, the nearly blind mother who's working hard to save her son from the same hereditary condition but eventually gets robbed and hanged.

All the other actors, including the splendid Catherine Denuve, shines in the movie. The final scene in the movie culminating in Selma's hanging is overwrought with pure sadness that the scene remains in one's head long after the movie has ended. It leaves a semi-chill down my spine, thinking about the scene.

This may all be weird to some, but for anyone who takes a chance, this is a masterpiece. You'll either love or hate this, no in-betweens.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you want a headache..., May 20, 2001
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
I sure don't understand the other reviewers, but, having bought this DVD based upon their reviews, I feel duped. The camera person could not keep a steady hand, and the picture shakes all over; on top of that, the camera makes quick swings back and forth as people are talking that is EXTREMELY distracting. It did make us aware of some of the good camera- shooting that we take for granted, so it was of some educational value. The camera also routinely cut off the tops of people's heads. As for the story...after one hour, we still could not tell you what the storyline was - not a clue! This is SLOW, boring, poorly filmed, with a very trite plot and trite characters who are totally non-convincing. Selma is Miss Perfect with the exception of the opening scene where she swats her son rather violently (and the viewer is not sure why, nor who these people are). The characters sound like they are reading their scripts...and as if they don't understand it, either. Save your money and time.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I want my money back!, May 18, 2001
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
If it wasn't for the fact that the Beatiful and exceptionally talented Bjork was in this movie I probably would have turned it off after the first 20 minutes. As it was, I could only stand to watch about 45minutes before i had to leave the room. What I want to know is why Bjork? She is so cute and makes her own paper clothing, and makes really dope music.
This movie is tortuous and dark (as the title alludes to) and painfully drawn out. I think that if I ever find the guy that wrote and directed it I would have to kick him in the shins and ask for my rental fee back.
I love Bjork, but could not recommend this movie to anyone that I wanted to keep as a friend. Don't see this movie. Don't pander to this type of childish, trying to be too cool drudgery. It's not just that the story was painfull and sad, but I felt that it was formulaicly designed to be irritating and I have no time in my life for that.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you will win, January 26, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
this movie will change your life. FO SHO! buy it and have a happy life!
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating...., October 26, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is without a doubt the most unpleasant movie I have ever seen. The jerky filming style made me physically ill and Bjork is a horrendous actress. It feels endless and the songs are so poorly written that it you won't recognize them if you hear them again. Please spare yourself this wretched experience.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars hauntingly entertaining as well as beautifully disturbing, June 9, 2003
By 
This review is from: Dancer in the Dark (DVD)
I rate this 2 stars because of what director Von Trier did with my favorite singer in the end. Man did I have mixed feelings about this movie the first time I had seen it. And as of me writing this review, I'm writing from a Bjork-fan point of view. THIS MOVIE IS VERY DISTURBING, disturbing enough factually that Bjork herself had said she would never act in anything again due to this movie's dramatic setting. I personally think she doesn't like it because of its dark message and we all know Miss Pixie-Queen is a happy-in-all woman. This movie is not happy at all, seriously, and me being a fan of Bjork, I found the ending to be too much, the first time was enough. It is true that Bjork lacks vanity in this film, which is a positive note about this film, it's raw, edgy, and real. And she most definitely deserved the recognition she got from this film. From the beginning to end, she displays the uncoated side of the woman she really is, no makeup no over produced music, just straight homemade musicals and true acting from all the cast. This movie isn't for the faint of heart, hell I could bearly watch it myself and I like dramas. It's worth a first watch but I doubt you'll ever watch it twice.
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Dancer in the Dark [VHS]
Dancer in the Dark [VHS] by Lars von Trier (VHS Tape - 2001)
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