[Note: This review is of a censored, abridged version of Nymphomaniac: Vol. I. Director Lars Von Trier gave this version his approval, but did not create this cut.]
Lars Von Trier clearly delights in messing with his audience. His films are abrasive, but they carry an arthouse sheen and a thoughtfulness that makes them more than pretentious trolling. But just because his movies aren’t empty-headed, that doesn’t mean they’re immune from being incredibly dumb. Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1 swerves wildly from a story that demands deep consideration about the relationship between lust and love, and an absurd comedy where characters try to top each other with hilariously idiotic dialogue. It appears that Von Trier wants to have his cake and fuck it too, but with the exception of one terrific scene, the absurdity almost always derails the tenderness.