Midsommar is the sophomore film of Ari Aster and stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, and Chidi from The Good Place.
I guess I’ll give you a synopsis, although you’d probably have a better time without one.
Dani is going through an emotionally rough season of life. Recently tragedy struck and she has no idea how to move forward. The most she can do is cling to her wishy washy garbage bag of a boyfriend for emotional support. This practice ends up taking Dani to a remote Swedish village to study a mysterious Midsummer festival. But what starts out as a beautiful retreat ends up becoming more and more violent… then things really kick off.
There are so many similarities between Midsommar and Ari Aster’s other film Hereditary (which I also reviewed) that it’s almost a little campy.
In both movies mental illness plays a significant role in establishing character traits and motifs.
In both movies occult groups take advantage of grief in order to entrap the female leads.
In both movies there are creepy vocal tics, people being set on fire, and head trauma that would make an ER doctor puke.
But while Hereditary focuses more on the randomness of everything, how family and fate intertwine to make hopeless situations, Midsommar is a film about choice.
It’s about who you choose to spend your time with. Share your pain with. The deepest kind of friends imaginable. FOUND families.
In that respect, I love it. Its poignant theming that’s easy to self-reflect on and plays almost like a companion piece to a movie I gave a 5/5.
The amount of care that went into crafting the tone is ridiculous. Such an odd balance between frightening and peaceful.
The score is deeply unsettling but still finds these little melodies that can only be described as beautiful. The set design hits a note right in the middle of eerie and comfortable. The effects feel almost tangible or completely trippy whenever the situation requires it. I’ve never seen a horror movie with this much sunshine and green pastures. I’ve never seen a horror movie balance this level of fiction with fact. Honestly, I’ve never seen any movie quite like this.
All that said, while I can appreciate Midsommar for the technical, creative, boundary pushing film that it is…I just don’t like it.
I hate it actually.
The pagan occult stuff is ladled way too heavily for my liking. It was almost too much in Hereditary but I felt like the metaphors were always more pronounced than the devil worship. In this flick, it felt like the human sacrifice stuff came first and the metaphor second. A lot of the torture scenes were specifically pulled from real sources and I don’t have the constitution for that.
The gore seemed gratuitous in almost every respect. From the sex to the violence, I didn’t think the audience needed to see EVERYTHING for Midsommar’s tone and point to come across…but there it was. Yet another scene with head trauma. It made me more disgusted than scared, and intentional or not, I’m not a big fan of feeling that way.
The characters are absolute dickbags the entire time. Which like, I get that they’re supposed to be dickbags…I get that. But it got to a point where I didn’t enjoy watching them. I wasn’t compelled by the drama or fascinated by the dynamic of their relationship crumbling. I was uncomfortable and filled with melancholy.
I did not come out of Midsommar feeling edified, inspired, or entertained.
I left disturbed.
And I don’t want that out of my media.
If I was trying to rate these movies without a bias I’m sure that rating would be a lot higher. It’s technically sound, tells an interesting story in an innovative way, and the performances are hyper convincing.
But this is my freakin’ blog, and if I didn’t enjoy my experience, then by golly my rating is going to reflect that.
Sorry. Can’t recommend.