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Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark

2000
Drama
Crime
2h 20m
Bjork stars as Selma, a Czech immigrant and single mother working in a factory in rural America. She is losing her eyesight and her 10 year-old son stands to suffer the same fate if she can't put away enough money to secure him an operation.
Your probable score
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Dancer in the Dark

2000
Drama
Crime
2h 20m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 65.85% from 4458 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(4458)
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Rated 30 Mar 2007
81
95th
Von Trier our favorite super villain is into hypnosis again. The movie is so cathartic that it works like a vending machine spiting out emotions. Is there any say on life or a political stance, I don't know. Even if there is, we've heard it a thousand times over. But the humanization hangs above. Just for a twist blended into a musical naivity -not for the film, but for the character-. No one have seen it all, not even Trier.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
50
2nd
I despise the cheap way von Trier tries to manipulate the audience. Watching "Dancer in the Dark" is like watching a film where a cute little bunny is being slowly and painfully dissected alive. I felt almost as if the director himself was standing behind me in the cinema and yelling "Cry! Cry! This is sad!" I refused to be manipulated that way - and hated the film.
Rated 10 Jul 2007
5
96th
A great film that I will never watch again. Horribly, horribly fucking sad. Bjork gives a great performance (even though this film basically put out the lights on her acting career for good) and the movie is really pretty. But the story itself is one of the most heart-wrenching stories ever told. Really painful, really hard to watch, but a great movie all the same. I fucking hate Lars von Trier with all of my immortal soul.
Rated 10 Nov 2007
60
45th
There was more potential in this movie, but at every turning point the director thought, "How can I make the sadness more ham-fisted?"
Rated 22 Oct 2009
20
2nd
This film left me completely cold. People were crying in the theater Selma is being sentenced to death and I was doing my best not to laugh out loud at how manipulative and inane it all was. The friend I accompanied was very moved but I just had to shrug as he raved about it afterwards. I found it all very contrived, hackneyed, dreadfully dull and obvious and predictable, poorly written, terribly acted (or emoted).
Rated 07 Dec 2006
80
66th
Horribly misguided, absurdly manipulative and contrived, and it shows a profound lack of understanding about the American legal & penal system. Still, it's incredibly powerful emotionally, and Bjork turns in not only an astounding musical performance, but a truly impressive acting performance as well.
Rated 30 Aug 2008
99
98th
disturbing!
Rated 21 Mar 2010
1
2nd
(2nd viewing) I couldn't recall what was so bad about this film. The first hour is far from bad but the movie shows its true face about an hour in; Disgustingly contrived and manipulative, thank you Lars for shoving emotions down my throat with this loathsome, sad excuse for a story. plus 1 for triffid's review.
Rated 11 Jun 2010
30
2nd
Either this is a brilliant prank that should go on the annals of trolling, or an amazingly ham-fisted tragedy. Lars von Trier keeps the pretence of spontaneous, honest cinema even as he uses over 100 hand-held cameras to shoot elaborate dance sequences, Björk plays the part of Björk, and the film tries as hard as it possibly can to draw tears. At best, this is a curious tragedy and a hefty tear-jerker; at worse, it's contrived, manipulative, and a two-hour insult to one's intelligence.
Rated 30 Jul 2013
9
99th
to me, this film is happiness. which is a bit strange considering how transparently it manipulates you into the most depressing circumstances. but the whole point of the movie is the staggeringly beautiful internal fantasy that has been constructed by selma, and how, despite all the awfulness surrounding her, she can indulge in it whenever she wishes. and von trier doesn't destroy this beautiful thing - he in fact nurtures it and celebrates it, which is evident by the final quote of the film.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
98th
On promising. And capital punishment. And America. Probably the director's most extreme demonstration that however transparent the manipulation, movies may still succeed in soliciting our emotions (essentially a pharmacological restatement of Kuleshov, to the effect that our affective projection of a film operates beneath and beyond the level of cognitive understanding). (Lynch concocts similarly ironic cinema with BLUE VELVET and especially WILD AT HEART: see my review of the latter).
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
74th
Great but jesus it's sad
Rated 06 Mar 2008
50
33rd
So much is wrong with this movie. I actually like Bjork's music, but she is quite dull here... as performer, and as actress. We're supposed to believe von Trier and his other Dogmeat pals are just so avant-garde, but the whole "factory sounds lead to musical number" idea is old hat. I have seen low-budget horror films that did a better job of impersonating the United States than this movie does. I think the duet with the corpse takes the prize for "most misguided idea"
Rated 04 Oct 2008
100
99th
Never before or since has I been so deeply affected emotionally by a motion picture. I literally cried like a baby - on and off - for months, and my 15-year-old self was taught a lesson about how powerful movies can be. Dancer in the Dark made the seed for my neverending love for and interest in film as an artform blossom like no other. Hell, it changed my life.
Rated 14 Oct 2008
95
98th
Super drama movie that I like very much, beautiful dance-scenes. A movie that you can like or dislike. Excellent for an European movie !
Rated 18 May 2009
2
13th
I'm normally a fan of von Trier but I couldn't take this one seriously. I think the musical aspect of it all ruined it for me. I still love you, Bjork. You are wonderful.
Rated 15 Apr 2010
7
68th
A really good movie up until the court scenes. It's sad how much von Trier doesn't understand the American penal system and the film suffers for it. I didn't find it as sad as everyone else did either. She kills someone and now has to die for it. I don't mean to be a dick but let's be honest here: worse things have happened to better people. Bjork's wonderful voice added so much to the film but I could live without her acting.
Rated 24 Oct 2011
40
19th
My usual Lars von Trier progression: hopeful, curious, annoyed, and downright hostile.
Rated 01 Jan 2012
91
99th
If you fancy having your heart broken over the course of two hours, give this a watch! This is probably the closest I've ever come to crying at a movie now I'm an adult. I was highly sceptical after realising it was a musical but the film rose above all expectations and everything works perfectly in context. The music and acting's great, which just gives me another reason to adore Bjork. Von Trier's heavy-handed portrayal of EVIL AMERICANS is a bit distracting but everything else is perfect.
Rated 25 May 2007
73
53rd
Effective melodrama, that has as much to do with America as Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado has to do with Japan.
Rated 24 Jul 2007
87
89th
A miserable viewing experience that made me cry several times.
Rated 12 Mar 2013
85
80th
The script is often absurd and the film is obscenely manipulative, yet it manipulates terrifically putting me through emotions I've never felt before. I'm not sure I want to feel those emotions but the film's power is extraordinary. The music is great delivered via Bjork in one of the best screen performances I've ever seen. The musical scenes with their saturated colours and disregard for reality stand out beautifully against the psuedo-Dogme state the rest of the film is filmed in.
Rated 03 Nov 2021
60
66th
Spoiler! İlk yarı 95, ikinci yarı 20. Efsane olabilecek bir filmin anası nasıl saflık ve dürüstlük adı altında saçmalıkla sikilir güzel bir kanıt. Daha düşük vermeye kıyamıyorum o duygusallaştığım ilk yarı için. "Oğlum üzülür ve gözleri daha kötü olur o yüzden ameliyatı bilmemesi lazım" ne demek aqqqqq ameliyata bayıltıp mı götürcen yani. onu geçtim senin öldüğünü duyunca üzülmücek mi? abi nolursunuz biraz mantıq pls
Rated 14 Aug 2007
1
0th
I hate this movie on a level even I find unreasonable.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
96th
This is the most depressing and disturbing movie I have ever seen. A great film, although not for the light-hearted.
Rated 13 Nov 2014
90
82nd
Probably the only musical I can describe as frightening. Let's not kid ourselves, LVT is at his best terrorizing pitiable women.
Rated 11 Feb 2013
65
51st
6+ recommended :: ...and so, so, heartbreakingly sad
Rated 18 Dec 2007
85
56th
Depressing as hell. One of the few movies I've cried during.
Rated 31 Jan 2021
30
12th
Considering this was supposed to be a Musical, I was super underwhelmed not gonna lie. I couldn't hear what the lyrics were, the shots weren't all that impressive to me (Yes, I know Lars von Trier filmed this with a crap camcorder on purpose to make it feel more like a Documentary) and I honestly can't tell, was this supposed to be funny or not? Bjork I genuinely couldn't tell if she was good or bad in this. She seemed a bit cartoonish and melodramatic for me to take seriously. Bizarre.
Rated 26 Mar 2013
90
92nd
I love von Trier, Björk, and misery porn -- how could I not love this
Rated 13 Apr 2008
14
2nd
I don't understand this kind of movie.
Rated 21 May 2008
90
95th
A masterpiece of vanguardist filmmaking.
Rated 25 Jun 2012
7
68th
The thing with this movie--and before I get into it let me just say von Trier, that dick, totally fucking knew about it--is that you fall in love with Selma, with her sweetness, naivety, and such particular beauty. Few films are brimming with fervent emotion, and Dancer in the Dark has its place in that demographic. There are problems with the film itself, though. Any musical sequences involving anyone, barring Selma and the other immigrant woman, suck. Horrible casting for Bill, seriously.
Rated 01 Jan 2009
63
35th
Great story and solid acting but visually a huge disappointment. I didn't really like the songs either.
Rated 03 Feb 2009
88
92nd
Disturbing...
Rated 28 Jan 2014
60
80th
LvT pushes cinema to such extremes that the film becomes a deconstruction of the form itself [consider the absurd extent that our diminutive hero becomes victim of tragedy after tragedy], and we observe ourselves interacting with it, but this in itself is something (for director and audience both) to revel in, and be moved by. [edit: I agree with user djross' suggestion that Kuleshov is salient here].
Rated 29 Mar 2009
74
90th
I hated this throughout the first one-hour-and-forty or so and then almost completely fell in love with it. Something very clever is happening here. I'm both scared and intrigued when I don't understand my reaction to something. My reaction wasn't emotional--short of the more crescendo filled, Wagnerian musical pieces--but simply an acceptance of what I was experiencing; like stimulus metamorphosis, or something equally cool sounding.
Rated 31 Aug 2009
91
94th
My favourite von Trier. Bjork is fantastic, and this movie makes my heart hurt.
Rated 23 Nov 2009
97
97th
a film that reminds us that films aren't designed to make you feel better, they're just simply designed to make you feel. this isn't entertainment. this isn't a drug carefully produced to mask the side effects of life, this is the very thing that gives all the ulcer patients what they pray to get rid of; this is life itself. it's not a movie experience, what you experience in this movie, you probably won't ever experience in your daily life. this movie is something you live... and that is rare
Rated 02 Apr 2010
52
2nd
Practically unwatchable.
Rated 30 Jul 2010
77
94th
There's a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to Bjork's performance which enthralled me. It was more award-worthy than half of the best-actress Oscars given out lately. I definitely didn't expect to get so sucked in.
Rated 14 Jan 2011
18
2nd
Sorry. I hated this movie, I hate that the idea for a movie like this would even occur to anyone, and I hated the positive critical reception. Absolutely terrible and in no way redeeming.
Rated 26 Jul 2012
27
7th
It's astounding that this is actually the work of Lars von Trier. The story is so incredibly ridiculous and the tone is so pathetically manipulative that I thought I was being deceived and was watching the work of someone else. Björk's performance as Selma was excellent, but I feel the tonal shifts into musical territory, even though essential to the story, was laughably bad. I had already lost all respect for the film at that point but the court scenes were just insufferable.
Rated 24 May 2011
95
99th
Trier has crafted an unforgettable and harrowing picture -one that benefits from Björk's sublime performance and singing voice and the director's unique style to become one of the most powerful film experiences I have ever witnessed.
Rated 25 Dec 2006
100
73rd
I cried.. it was sad.. so sad..
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
71st
only lars can construct a point of view capable of withstanding such transitions.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
87
67th
great performance by bjork...
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
99th
the most beautiful movie ever made ..
Rated 28 Aug 2015
71
41st
Wonderful actors and great directing is what saves this film. The story is manipulative and exploitative. If Von Trier's intention was to molest the viewer - and I wouldn't put that past him - he succeeded gloriously. Though I enjoyed the first half, overall it's not a pleasant viewing experience and I wouldn't recommend it.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
88
70th
The questions are raised. Lars Trier is psycho, but the movies are extremely touching. And a music, too.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
57th
Not as good as Breaking the Waves, but packs more of an emotional wallop.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
12
0th
this must be a joke
Rated 06 Aug 2021
86
84th
??Musicals???????????????????
Rated 16 Nov 2007
50
56th
hard film to watch, but very good.
Rated 18 Nov 2007
87
71st
very simple, though very tragic story, of course bjork's singing is perfect
Rated 30 Dec 2007
80
61st
Worth it if you're a fan of Bjork, otherwise it's kind of boring. The murder scene is well done, but manipulative, and you really just wait for another song. The ending is a gut punch, for sure.
Rated 28 Jun 2012
50
12th
müzikal, körlük, anne-ogul, metal press, güven, hirsizlik, cinayet, mahkeme, hapishane, idam, asilarak ölüm. (müziklerde fada in - fade out yok. kamera cok hareketli dogma 95, mantik hatasi var.)
Rated 13 Apr 2008
70
16th
not as great as i hoped. bjorks icelandic accent and flair just don't fit the role... but a good story
Rated 21 Apr 2008
92
94th
An amazing film, a musical where all the joyful songs have an absolutely crushing subtext. Yet you still feel Selma's joy at the same time as the pain. What a wrench. Bjork does an outstanding job, both dramatically, and in the musical compositions. What am I saying?--it's a Von Trier film, all the acting is fantastic. I must admit I'm preferential to his more provocative films, but simply as a twist on the classic musicals, this is an incredible film.
Rated 20 Dec 2021
100
98th
Herşeyi bırakıp saflığına sarılmak içindeki tutkuyla dolup taşmak ve yok olmak. Harikaydı.
Rated 08 Mar 2015
99
99th
I think this is one of the most masterful films ever made. It is absolutely, brutally difficult to watch, in large part due to Björk's transcendent performance (how she wasn't nominated for an Oscar is beyond my comprehension). This film is a work of art. My own love for musical theater may be clouding my judgment here a little, but... no, this is just amazing.
Rated 07 Aug 2015
97
89th
Some feel Lars von Trier is too obviously manipulative with our emotions in this film. I say he did it right. Have tissues.
Rated 10 Sep 2008
55
28th
I know this "should" be tier 9, and though the point is to NOT have a good time... this was a near-unbearable, miserable, terrible (and surprisingly manipulative) movie-going experience, and I don't necessarily feel the better because of it. Dancing with a corpse is not very transcendent.
Rated 21 Sep 2008
70
25th
this movie make me stay depress for a whole week! but it's a great movie
Rated 30 Mar 2020
80
81st
This is every bit Bjork's film as much as it is von Trier's, a fact made especially clear if you peek into the rest of von Trier's filmography.
Rated 10 May 2014
45
17th
aaaw, those horrible noises. i'd rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard than björk's...singing? i kept cheering for her to be hanged. i'm not sure if that's what von trier intended.
Rated 17 Nov 2012
75
49th
16 Novembre 2012 - Fil argumental ben construit. Li agrada el martiri. Moments entendridors. Cançons no estorben i m'han arribat a engrescar. Perquè grava amb un vídeo tan antiestètic; fa pensar.
Rated 04 Jan 2009
80
46th
i'm not a big fan of bjork but this movie touched me.
Rated 13 Jan 2009
95
93rd
As an avid Bjork fan, strike that, lifetime devotee I considered it a capital crime that I had not viewed this film earlier. Polarizing to the upmost degree, the juxtaposition Von Trier has created of dream like musical sequences against the raw emotion of scenes such as the execution scene is simply incredible. This film ranks among my favourites of all time, not simply because of my love for Bjork, but the culmination of Von Trier and a uniformly perfect cast to create a sublime celluloid.
Rated 24 Feb 2020
60
38th
2cruel4me
Rated 25 Oct 2012
88
96th
* Casting, Acting : 10 * Script : 8 * Directing, Aura : 9 * Ease of Viewing : 7 * Naked Eye : 10
Rated 22 Apr 2009
68
78th
I have heard legends of those Bollywood horror flicks when someone gets killed, then gets up and sings and dances with zombies who killed him. I wonder if von Trier actually drew his inspiration from one of these? Due to DV cinematography tragedy seems close and personal. Musical numbers are shot in saturated colors as a contrast to the overall bleakness of the film. I wasn't really moved by melodrama, but eccentric musical numbers and acting of Bjork is definitely worth seeing.
Rated 11 May 2009
95
98th
Definitely not for everyone, Dancer In The Dark is the anti-musical. Von Trier shows the escapism inherent in classic musicals by focusing on a character whose imagination injects singing and dancing into her dark and depressing life. Many people are frustrated by the ridiculousness of Selma's actions in the film, but clearly this surreal musical is not aiming for realism.
Rated 12 May 2009
5
81st
Another von Trier flick that pushes what I can accept and runs hot/cold, variably, but I mostly come out with positive reactions. Mostly. [in the case of Bjork - fully]
Rated 13 Jan 2020
77
82nd
Fucking manipulative
Rated 23 Nov 2013
60
11th
Langweiliges und unnötig in die Länge gezogenes Drehbuch. Zudem sind die Lieder eintönig und unerträglich schlecht gesungen. Auch die Choreographien sind ziemlich einfallslos. Die dramaturgische Wende ist pathetisch und unglaubwürdig. Die Charakteren werden kaum entwickelt. Die Kameraführung ist auch hin und wieder irritierend (z.B. die vielen Schwenkungen in den Dialogen). Lars von Trier kann mit diesem Film kaum an die Leistung von "Breaking the waves " anknüpfen.
Rated 09 Oct 2012
100
96th
Escreverei sobre este no caderno. Lindo demais, nunca me emocionei tanto com uma obra de arte.
Rated 15 Apr 2012
100
99th
made me cry like never before to a movie. oh god. there is so much to say I wont be able to sum it all up here anyway. ill just say: moving like no other movie, björk is absolutely phenomenal and the intense hand-held camera work does its trick to make you feel like its just someone observing it all happening, including the intense super zoomed-in face shots. there is also an interesting balance held between the sometimes over-tear provking scenes and the musical aspects.
Rated 24 Aug 2009
95
76th
Heart-breaking and emotionally intense.
Rated 09 Sep 2009
91
97th
This movie is hard to watch and worth watching at the same time. Unforgettable
Rated 24 Sep 2009
77
76th
For the record, I don't really like Björk, but I think she did better job acting than she does singing. The movie itself was very melancholic, but not quite the tearjerker I thought it would be. Some of the musical stuff put me slightly off, maybe because I just can't stand Björk's singing.
Rated 23 Mar 2024
60
26th
Lines on screen: "They say it's the last song. They don't know us, you see. It's only the last song if we let it be."
Rated 06 Sep 2012
95
96th
Fantastic acting, intense film, one of the best musicals ever, and tied with the Passion of Joan of Arc for the best passion film.
Rated 21 Feb 2010
75
71st
Merely good and not as great as hyped. Frankly it comes across as a bit contrived since the film tries to wring audience tears out of every single frame of screentime in the most maudlin ways. Despite its flaws Bjork is very likable and sympathetic in her role. The cinematography looks nice too and it has some interesting songs.
Rated 24 Jul 2017
100
98th
There is only one word for this movie. Masterpiece !
Rated 02 Oct 2013
84
79th
84.000
Rated 09 Apr 2012
71
54th
I can appreciate this movie on almost every level except for ... Bjork.
Rated 07 Jul 2010
80
49th
I can say it has some weaknesses as a musical but still a good movie.
Rated 19 Jul 2010
97
96th
Gorgeous and heartbreaking. Bjork is masterful.
Rated 22 Nov 2010
88
94th
so this absolutely destroyed me, nbd.
Rated 23 May 2016
90
80th
As much as I love the opening of Melancholia and the ending of Dogville, the first musical number in this film is the greatest thing Lars von Trier has ever done. After an auspicious opening 30 minutes that quickly and effectively lays the groundwork for the tragedy that will follow, this musical number comes along and shatters all expectations. It's breathtaking. I wonder what it would be like if you watched this movie without knowing that it was a musical.
Rated 12 May 2013
83
64th
Bjork gives a phenomenal performance in this film, Dancer in the Dark. The movie is intriguing but not one you can take at face value. If you can accept that, you may find it captivating and emotional.
Rated 23 Feb 2011
28
7th
Goes above and beyond to force an outcome from improbable causes. The camera work is nausea-inducing. Too bad Bjork blew her only acting opportunity with such a lousy filmmaker.
Rated 06 Mar 2011
92
94th
A deeply disturbing experience but a masterpiece nonetheless.
Rated 20 Apr 2011
90
90th
'to be honest, i really don't care'.
Rated 22 May 2011
82
88th
Painful, cold and lovely at the same time, Dancer in the Dark is the kind of film that could be shot in numerous ways, but Lars found his own -- one that is totally unexpected -- to tell this tragedy.
Rated 07 Aug 2015
58
84th
The full-on musical numbers disrupt the emotional flow and make scenes that are serious in tone suddenly feel silly. I like 'Selmasongs' on its own, but in this movie the songs are as out-of-place as a clown at a funeral.
Rated 13 Dec 2011
80
75th
While at first I was, like others, frustrated at the contrived situations of Selma, I soon realized its purpose: Whenever a musical number came up, I forgot about her predicament, expecting something good to happen, before jumping back to her grey world of shit, where I was once again reminded that nothing good WOULD happen. The film is an experiment in audience expectations of the musical, and LVT completely subverts them as confrontational as possible. Bleak? Very. But I respect its daring.
Rated 16 Jan 2012
100
99th
My gods, it is so good. It's so raw, so powerful, so real... Björk's performance is both beautifully innocent and utterly heart-wrenching. It still hits me emotionally quite intensely every time I watch it. And, of course, the music is fantastic. I find Björk's voice so otherworldly and exquisite. If you haven't seen this film, you must.
Rated 01 Feb 2012
90
89th
Lars von Trier and Bjork effectively recreates everything that was great in Dennis Potter's Pennies from Heaven in what amounts to a fascinating film. A lovely script, score, and performances create a must see for lovers of musicals and art-film alike. While this may not be the best of the Golden Heart trilogy its a must see.

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