So… That happened. But what did I expect? It is a Lars von Trier film after all. I can’t get mad at him, for that would like being mad at a puppy when it pees on the rug–that’s what they do.
Nymphomaniac volume II picks up the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as she is trying to make a go of it with Jerome (Shia LaBeouf). Why? Who knows? I don’t feel like analyzing her motives.
In volume I, Joe tells Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) that she is an awful human being. He tries to assure her, and the audience, that she is not that bad. Volume II puts that theory to the test. Trier tests the audience to see just how liberal and open minded they really are. In the process, Joe dives deeper and deeper into… Hell?
Jerome knows that he will never be able to sexually satisfy Joe, so sometime after the birth of their son, he tells her it’s okay to see other men. Which she does. She attempts a three way with two African men, but that didn’t go to plan for reasons I will not spoil.
Joe starts visiting K, (Jamie Bell) a man who doesn’t have sex with the women who come to see him in what appears to be an abandoned office building, but he beats them. This could be described as 50 Shades of Black and Blue. I’m sure K gets something out of this, but I am also sure I don’t want to know what it is. This may sound weird, but Jamie Bell was one of the best parts of the entire movie. Well, him and Uma Thurman.
Each of Joe’s stories has a title, and the one called “The Mirror” is the one where Trier really went for it. Joe attends a group therepy session, where she declares herself to be a nymphomaniac. The therepist (Kate Ashfield from Shaun of the Dead) says that they prefer the term “sex addict.” That is the least controversial part of the story, and maybe the film.
Then again, it all depends of each persons definition of controversial. Joe and Seligman have a heated discussion about how some men are pro-choice, as long as they don’t know the precise details about how an abortion is performed. If you see the extended director’s cut, you will find out.
Joe finds work as a debt collector for a loan shark called L (Willam Dafoe). She is very good at her job, and after a few years, L tells Joe that she should train someone to be her successor. The person he has in mind is P, (Mia Goth) who comes from a family of criminals.
Things go South when Joe, P, and their two goons pay a visit to Jerome, now played by Michael Pas. Joe lets P go solo for the first time and… I’ll just leave it there.
Your opinion on how the movie ends depends on a number of factors. Much like the ending of Gone Girl you will hate it, or accept it. I don’t know if anyone will love it. Maybe you will. I understand Lars von Trier’s thought process, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.