Which is quite obvious as it also has two chapters to name these faces.
The first chapter fleshes out the fragile, dysfunctional characters in what is supposed to be one of the happiest time in their lives, during a wedding. The interactions between the fleeting bride seem tedious and unnecessary, at times trying too hard to be personal and intimate moments between loved ones. There are moments of extreme irrationality, instabilities that build up until everything just seems to crumble. Straightforward dysfunctional family.
The second chapter, on the other hand, strips away the wedding party and follows the former bride Justine, her sister Claire, her sister’s husband and their son as they go through the days leading up to Melancholia’s passing by Earth. It is here that the film really gets into the more intimate moments and details of the characters. The fragile and irrational behavior of Justine, who has been pushed to a near comatose. The unyielding rationality of Claire’s husband, who assures that Melancholia’s passing is not something to worry about but to embrace. And Claire’s own build up of stress and worry that would seem to eventually follow Justine.
As rich as the second chapter is with character study, Von Trier also provides a visual feast in beautifully shot locations, especially creating a highly stylized prologue portraying the collision of Melancholia with Earth. Despite the overly revealing prologue, it is the tension and anticipation, as well as the character transitions, both fully realized and powerfully performed by Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and a frighteningly subtle Kiefer Sutherland, that mainly drive this science fiction drama.