At the center of Nymph()maniac: Volume II is the interplay of sex and cruelty, love and pain. While masochism becomes the well from which the protagonist, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), draws pleasure from middle age, it’s the people whom she loves or trusts that hurt her most. Likewise, it’s only those whom she’s closest to that she ever seeks to wound.
If you were afraid Nymph()maniac was going to be nothing more than pornography masquerading as art-house, don’t worry. The sex doesn’t come off as steamy or exciting as much as raw, monotonous and sort of funny.