Von Trier’s tenderness shocking in ‘Nymph()maniac’

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Nymph()maniac: Vol. 1

Nymph()maniac: Vol. 1,” Lars von Trier’s latest shot across the ramparts of taste is the saga of a teenage sex addict (newcomer Stacy Martin) as told by her older, more bruised self (Charlotte Gainsbourg). From title on down, the movie is calculated to shock, but what’s most disquieting is how funny, tender, thoughtful, and truthful it is, even as it pushes into genuinely seamy aspects of onscreen sexuality. Von Trier’s exploration into how we punish ourselves with pleasure, and why, is as more metaphysical than physical: It’s a turn-on, but not that way. OK, maybe that way, too. Christian Slater and Uma Thurman turn in emotionally naked supporting performances; Shia LaBeouf is mostly just naked. With Stellan Skarsgård.

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