Theory: Nymphomaniac Is Actually a Comedy


Have you seen all of the trailers for Lars Von Trier’s seXXXy new movie Nymphomaniac? If you have, you’d definitely remember them because they’re SO racy and SO edgy that they’re literally IMPOSSIBLE to forget. Like, one red band trailer shows Shia LaBeouf’s naked butt as he’s doing it with a lady and another one shows that same lady spitting out semen after giving some dude a hardcore BJ in a train car. And all the while there’s some pretty cool death metal song playing with a singer who goes, “OOOGGGGHHHH, NYMPHOMANIAC.”

It’s angry. It’s raw. It’s REAL. But at the same time, it’s also so silly that it has to secretly be a comedy?

Since going into production, the intention of Nymphomaniac has clearly been to shock its audience. At first, it was implied that the film’s actors (who include LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Uma Thurman and Willem Dafoe among others) would be having real sex on screen. In an interview with MTV News, LaBeouf pretty much confirmed this, saying, “[The movie] is what you think it is. It is Lars von Trier, making a movie about what he’s making. For instance, there’s a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says we’re doing it for real. Everything that is illegal, we’ll shoot in blurred images. Other than that, everything is happening.”

Everything is happening? ¡Qué escándalo!

Turns out, that wasn’t exactly true. (¡Deflated escándalo!) What actually happened was the actors simulated sex acts and then body doubles were brought in for the legit penetrash.

“We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in post we will digital-impose the two. So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles,” Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth told the Hollywood Reporter. (Sadly, it looks you’re going to have to wait for a different occasion to watch Louis Stevens have sex. I know, I’m the opposite of disappointed, too.)

But the controversy continues! Last week, parents in Florida were horrified when the full-length red band trailer for Nymphomaniac “accidentally” played to a theater full of little kids waiting to see Disney’s Frozen. Congratulations, kiddies! You’ve just found out what BDSM is and you didn’t even have to sneak watch an episode of Real Sex to do it.

Granted, showing a trailer full of nipple licking, gang bangs and Willem Dafoe to a bunch of children probably isn’t ideal, but somehow — whether it was an accident or not — the fact that that happened just ends up seeming like another desperate attempt to drum up controversy prior to Nymphomaniac‘s release. It’s an admirable(?) effort, but at the same time, the movie looks laughable. Or am I the only one who feels that way? (Jessica Coen and Erin Ryan confirm that I am not.)

Maybe it’s because the trailers and marketing for Nymphomaniac have been so outrageously try-hard. Maybe it’s because when you watch people who aren’t you have sex for long enough, it starts to feel like you’re just watching two chimps go at it and, hey, who hasn’t been to the zoo before.Regardless, it’s really hard to shake the feeling that Nymphomaniac is actually a joke and that Lars von Trier is just tricking us into taking it seriously. Because if there’s one thing we know about Lars von Trier, it’s that he loves a good laugh…and that he loves Hitler.

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