I’m a relatively normal guy, so the title “Nymphomaniac Vol. II” intrigued me a bit and I cozened myself into going before reading the Mountain Xpress review ["Nymphomaniac Vol. II,” April 9, Xpress] I arrived at the theatre on a day and time when there were a total of 12 people in the house. I was the third of this group to walk out, and for me it was at about the 45 minute point.
After leaving, I went right to your paper and read the review, which was, for the most part, positive, praising the flick and giving it four stars out of five.
The best thing I can muster about the movie is that its female star was convincingly neurotic, and of course, this is just the kind of thing one hopes for in going to the movies to be “entertained” or enlightened. The worst of it is that the film is also decadent. It’s brutally violent towards this woman, who ends up looking as though she’s been run over by a truck after a few sessions with a sadist who administers to her several forms of shocking violence, ostensibly to “awaken” her from some form of depression/repression, which deadens her sexuality. And it is ultimately nihilistic.
I think that the kind of reviewers you employ for film criticism would almost have to find elements of sophistication in this kind of film, at least sufficient enough to rescue it from my kind analysis and warrant shining up their Pauline Kael badges. That’s sad. People who write for publication and do not recognize decadence when they see it undermine that which is civilized in printing their opinions. Nihilism of this sort slouches backward in time towards barbarism. And it takes a Hollywood or New York type of Leftist critic to praise it.