Just saw Midsommar yesterday, the second movie from Ari Aster (Hereditary) and I’m dying to talk about it. I was initially going to post this in the horror movie thread but thought it deserved it’s own thread as Waypoint has been a great place for discussion of films. I particularly enjoyed the dive into Jordan Peele’s Us earlier in the year!
I’ll do a plot synopsis, but I’m conscious that the film has literally just opened up this week and, as with Hereditary, some might want to go in knowing as little about the movie as possible. So I’ll just blur it.
Here’s a trailer to break up this wall of text!
So Midsommar, it’s about Danni (Florence Pugh) who undergoes significant tragedy in her life. She is in a relationship with Christian (Jack Reynor), a relationship that is pretty severly on the rocks with a number of red flags blowing in the wind. Christian has a group of friends (Will Poulter) who are all telling him to break up with her, but he seems hesitant and given her recent tragedy, it doesn’t feel right in terms of timing. Christian and his friends plan to travel to Sweden to attend a folksy Midsommar festival taking place in Pelle’s hometown. Danni invites herself along much to the annoyance of the group. They arrive in beautiful Sweeden and are met with sunshine, lots of welcoming smiling faces and folksly old time traditions, mushrooms and suffice to say everything does not go smoothly.
I really enjoyed Midsommar on it’s own, beat for beat it excels in creating an atmosphere of dread, with occassional moments of humour, horror and bits where the two become fused in really weird ways. I think it is a lot less polarising than Hereditary was but I think it is also serves as a really interesting companion piece to it. Whilst Hereditary was the feel bad movie of 2018, Midsommar is almost… from a certain point of view… the feel good comedy of 2019.
Just a list of talking points and things I appreciated.
- Florence Pugh was fantastic, anchoring the movie with a central performance that rivaled Toni Collette in Hereditary.
- Horror in broad daylight - this is typically very hard to do but also a staple of the folksy element. The film relishes in creating an atmosphere of dread within this setting, which also allows the more horrific elements really pop.
- Get Out - the old horror trope is alive and well here but I also loved how the central characters ultimately had no inclination to leave what so ever..
- Lore reasons I want to see Midsommar again because I feel like there is a lot of stuff, particularly in the artwork that give you futher info into the world. It’s all remarkably well fleshed out. Again Hereditary kind of threw in the supernatural element with some explanation. Having the two duelling academics in the picture was pretty cool too in unearthing more of the complexities in the community
The sex scene… As with Hereditary, this was a scene that people were both laughing at and unnerved by.
- Part of my problem with my first viewing of Hereditary was not stomaching that downbeat ending. I guess in some ways, this was down to personal preferences, in that I like my horror movies to at least have some form of catharsis or constructive resolution. Midsommar obviously goes more in that direction, where Danni does actually find a family that can share in every extreme emotion she has.