It also seems to be the case that Justine lacks a lot of the emotional support she would need to deal properly with her affliction. She repeatedly attempts to reach out to her father and mother, and is either avoided in the case of her father, or oppressed by her mother's self-indulgent negativity. Her sister, while there for her at least physically and with basic concern, evinces Reliakor's attitude: Claire's pragmatism finds Justine burdensome, and she's repeatedly irritated that he sister can't just snap out of it and be practical the way that she herself is. It's unfortunately the case (well observed by von Trier) that people often resent those sufferers of mental illness they must care for, no matter how much they love the sufferer, because that person just can't do simple things, easy things you'd think, and therefore monopolizes attention. When something seems so simple to you, it can be hard to watch a grown adult just fail to do such simple things (and which you must now do for them). That's where the 'why can't you just snap out of it?!' response usually comes from.Gregory wrote:Depression is pretty constant for many people.
I should add that I don't think her disdain for bourgeois life is of the moral or political sort; she just doesn't think she belongs in that world, and she can never be what she's expected to be: the perfect bride and upwardly mobile career woman. It's no accident that her breakdown as many major pressures peak and converge at the same time: extended wedding celebrations that are picture-perfect and everything needs to happen on schedule and on cue, celebrations she feels entirely isolated from but which she's repeatedly told not to spoil because of their material cost; a major promotion in front of everyone; come up with a tagline tonight or this kid gets fired, etc. So I find it bizarre to say that she just happened to be having a bad day.
What makes the climax so wonderful is that when Claire can no longer be pragmatic, can no longer find shelter in either her material lifestyle or the authority of her husband, she turns to her sister for support--and her sister gives it, even at the moment when the gesture should be the most meaningless. Depression is a disease that makes you turn inward, closes you off in your own skull; that's unavoidable. Justine, repeatedly looking for a way out of this, finds two escapes from it: in the end of her consciousness, and in a gesture of comfort and human sympathy for people whose fear and despair she actually doesn't share. Where Claire is weakest, Justine is strongest, and vice versa. But at the end of the movie both have stepped outside of their petty self-concerns for one brief moment. If you don't find that moving on a basic human level, all I can do is shrug.