- Alternative Character Interpretation: According to Charlotte Gainsbourg, Claire's life really isn't as perfect as it seems; essentially, she's doing exactly what she accuses Justine of doing, going through the rituals of life for the sake of it without actually being happy. On the other hand, many viewers tend to regard Claire as the more sympathetic sister.
"For me, itís like sheís pretending to be a mother, pretending to be a wife, pretending to take care of the house. Nothingís really truthful. Thatís the way I find it, but I donít think Lars had this vision of my character being so cold and, um ó antipathique? I didnít like myself. It was interesting ó not to fight against the character, because I really was her and I felt for her. But I felt ashamed. In those scenes where the end is close and I start crying ó the whole thing is about being so naive!"
- Award Snub: This was never the kind of film that the Academy would respond to, but it did appear on many Top 10 lists that year, and quite a number of people thought that Kirsten Dunst would've made for a fine Best Actress nominee. Notably, she actually managed to claim the Best Actress prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
- Awesome Music: The use of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde Prelude throughout the movie sets the tone for the movie.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Lad magazines say that it's worth watching this angsty and depressing movie just to see Kirsten Dunst naked.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Depending on if they find the protagonists annoying, some people may find themselves rooting for the planet to hurry up and hit the earth. Of course, one of the protagonists also finds everything annoying and is rooting for the planet to hurry up and hit the earth.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: As pointed out by Kyle Kallgren, the film seems to glorify, validate, and romanticize depression as being "correct".
- Fridge Horror: A mild one, considering the tone of the movie, but upon discovering that John has committed suicide due to the impending collision, Claire releases his horse, Abraham, and lies to Leo and Justine that John is riding him to the village. Later, when Justine goes to comfort Leo, he's outside...staring at Abraham, who's grazing on the golf course. Leo says his father told him that if Melancholia and Earth do collide, nothing will protect them. He doesn't bring John up again, even when taking shelter in the magic cave with the rest of his family. The implication is that he knew something bad happened to his usually levelheaded father, and probably also suspected that the end was coming. He was certainly strong, but he may not have died as peacefully as his aunt hoped
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Sending lanterns with names and heartfelt notes floating into the night is done on Obon — basically Buddhist Day Of The Dead.
- A (formally) depressed director tells a story that features the end of the world, a giant object hitting the earth, and all the main characters have emotional/mental problems... where have I heard that before? As if that weren't enough, an instrumental version of "Fly Me To The Moon" plays at one point during the wedding.
- Overshadowed by Controversy: Raise your hands, how people heard of this movie only because of the infamous "Nazi" flubs of the director?
- Those with unraised hands, please see Best Known for the Fanservice.
- Rule of Symbolism: Throughout the movie, John repeatedly mentions that his estate has an eighteen-hole golf course. When Claire and Leo are unable to leave the estate towards the end, Claire carries Leo across the golf course, passing a flag marking the nineteenth hole. The nineteenth hole is a term for a pub or clubhouse where golfers drink after the game, often found near or on the course itself.
- At crucial times, the sisters try desperately yet fail to cross the bridge separating them from the rest of the world: Justine, when Claire attempts to cheer her up the morning after her disastrous wedding, and Claire, when she wants to be in the village when Melancholia crashes into Earth.
- Tear Jerker: Pretty much the last ten minutes, possibly the entire movie.
- True Art Is Angsty: Well, it's Lars von Trier, what did you expect?
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The first eight minutes, and the destruction of Earth at the end.