Lars von Trier has built his entire career on being provocative, to the extent that it’d be much more of a surprise at this stage if one of his movies came and went without a single shred of controversy.
The acclaimed filmmaker thrives on pushing the boundaries of what can be committed to celluloid in a mainstream film, and his two-part erotic odyssey Nymphomaniac is a perfect example. In the broadest terms, the story follows a woman self-diagnosed with the titular condition, who regales the audience with her tales.
Divvied up into eight chapters told across two volumes, the uncut and complete version of Nymphomaniac runs for a butt-numbing 325 minutes. As per FlixPatrol, it’s Vol. I that’s been capturing the imagination of Netflix subscribers everywhere, though, having reached the platform’s Top 10 most-watched list in no less than seven different countries.
There was backlash at almost every turn, ranging from character posters that depicted the star-studded ensemble at the moment of climax, as well as a full-length trailer that was full of sexually explicit content. Nymphomaniac was originally awarded an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, which von Trier ended up completely disregarding in favor of going completely unrated instead.
That turned out to be a shockingly shrewd move after Vol. I earned over $13 million at the box office, with the combined production costs of Nymphomaniac only amounting to $4.5 million, and it’s now finding a saucy new lease of life on streaming.