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'Nymphomaniac Vol. II' review: The silent duck says open wide

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Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Rating:
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"Nymphomaniac Vol. II" will be released theatrically in Houston along with its predecessor at the Sundance Cinema starting today.

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"Nymphomaniac Vol. II" is the continuation of Joe's (Charlotte Gainsbourg) story. She resumes her recollection of her rather vivacious sexual escapades spread out over her lifetime as she lies in a bed humbly given to her by Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) who listens to her story with great intent. This second half covers Joe's sudden genital numbness, the pursuit of the drastically violent K (Jamie Bell) to hopefully jump start her sex drive, becoming a debt collector for L (Willem Dafoe), and taking P (Mia Goth) on as her apprentice and successor.

While Joe is telling Seligman about losing her ability to feel anything and having no sexual sensation whatsoever, his excitement for "mathematical crap" gets to her and the reasoning behind his unusual behavior is revealed. It's decided that Seligman is not like other men in between visuals of a younger Joe (Stacy Martin) slapping her vagina with a wet towel in an attempt to try to feel anything and a dinner date with Jerome (Shia LaBeouf) in which Joe shoves a handful of spoons up her crotch in the middle of the restaurant.

Joe's pregnancy is inadvertently ridiculous while the sandwich she's almost a part of in the hotel room with the two African men will likely be what you remember most from either film. This second half shows Joe's struggle to cope with abstinence, reformation, and attempt at being an actual member of society. Her lubricating issue is both hypnotic and disgusting as is the deterioration of her sexual organs. You will never look at phone books the same way again or ducks for that matter.

The sequence where Joe tries to give up sex after being forced to attend sex addict meetings is a rough experience. All you can do is feel sorry for Joe, which she explicitly states she doesn't want you to do at the beginning of her story. So you have to swallow your emotions and just simply witness her suffering. It's as if Joe bottles up that experience and releases it once she's working for L as she tortures individuals who owe him money. It's relieving to see that even in a filthy, sex-fueled world that things still come full circle.

"Nymphomaniac Vol. II" is provocative in the sense that you're never quite sure how far the film is willing to go. Joe is a pretty messed up individual and her goal in life is to satisfy her sexual appetite at all costs. Every individual she comes across is tainted in some capacity. This is a repulsive world Joe lives in. Describing the film as entertaining is misleading, but Joe's journey arouses your curiosity which leaves you craving to see how it all ends.

"Nymphomaniac Vol. II" illustrates the misshapen side of sex and throws one insatiable woman into the spotlight as the poster child for freakish, shameless, ravenous, raw, and animalistic coitus.

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