Movie Review – Midsommar
by Julie Perez
Maybe we’ve been running from the Boogeyman all this time, when we really should be terrified of how complicated the human condition is.
Ari Aster is slowly becoming my favorite Writer/Director and if Hereditary didn’t convince you of how brilliant his mind is, then Midsommar surely will. The fact that his films are being classified as horror, seem to do a disservice to the convoluted nature of his narrative. He has made an art out of working through the grief; he has intricately woven jump scares accompanied by shocking and violent deaths into stories that dive into the complex depths of our mind.
Midsommar is a brutal, bloody and anxiety-driven look at a summer trip. Dani and Christian are at the center of this story and we meet them while their relationship is on the brink of falling apart. While Christian is struggling with how to end things with Dani, a family tragedy leaves Dani grieving and in need of emotional support. The film then follows Christian and his friends (with Dani who found herself reluctantly being invited on their trip) visiting Sweden where one of them introduces the rest to the commune that he’s grown up in.
The journey carries a thin layer of comedy; the witty one-liners serve for tiny moments of levity that almost make you forget about the shocking scenes that you’ve been exposed to throughout the movie. Though truthfully the comedy doesn’t serve as enough of a distraction since most of the movie causes a visceral reaction.
This movie felt like a perfect series of events that led to a phenomenal finish product. The musical score added the necessary amount of restlessness into every single scene. The cinematography felt intimately detailed and every angle felt like a specific choice to add stress and anxiety to the audience. Though it all perfectly fit together, it’s the acting that truly excelled. With Florence Pugh (who played Dani) at the forefront of this story, every single emotion came through the screen in a powerful way.
Florence Pugh portrayed the grief with a subtlety that feels familiar if you’ve ever pretended to not be falling apart. Jack Reynor (who plays Christian) really shined on screen opposite of Florence and though his character felt like the kind of man most women spend years trying to forget, his portrayal felt so real that it made me seek out anything else that he’s been in.
The foreshadowing, the beautiful aesthetic and the magical musical score are proof that Ari Aster has truly outdone himself with Midsommar. It’s the kind of film that stays with you, the kind that you find yourself obsessing over as you try to understand it better, It’s the kind of journey that requires a closer look into your own psyche and maybe that’s what makes it so absolutely special. If anything, the film serves as a necessary (and extremely bloody) reminder that having a community matters and SPOILER ALERT, maybe that’s why we see a sense of relief wash over Dani at the end of the film. Maybe the ride to get to the other side of grief is full of complications but once you take that first sigh of relief it all feels a little easier to deal with.