I saw Midsommar and have been racking my brain on how to even begin the review. I’m still not sure how to properly discuss the movie without spoiling the major plot points and trying to break them down. There are other reviewers on here who have a far better understanding of the horror genre and can break it down in that regard for you. I decided that I won’t spoil anything and will just give what resonated with me the most walking out. Midsommar is the most disturbing and uncomfortable break up movie I’ve ever seen.
You probably see the trailer Midsommar and say, “Dan… a break up movie?” To that I say, “Yes. Yes it is.” Midsommar is the story of Dani and her ridiculously shitty boyfriend Christian played by Jack Reynor. Dani suffers a family tragedy in the first 15 minutes of the movie that allows Director Ari Aster to really show off his ability to build tension in the homes of wealthy white people. I had no idea how the tragedy would unfold and it was extremely unnerving. As this event is unfolding we also get a glimpse into Christian’s attitude towards his relationship with Dani. It is a classic case of a guy who lacks the balls to break up with his girlfriend so he has been stringing her along for months. His group of friends all know he should’ve dumped her a long time ago and give him crap when she calls. Once Christian learns of the tragedy he missed his break up window and is stuck with Dani. Every interaction he has with her, he does so unwillingly and with a resignation that jumps off the screen. Jack Reynor plays a fantastic passive aggressive jerk.
Things get weird when Christian invites Dani on his boys trip to Sweden to visit their friend’s village during their 90 year festival. Nobody. I repeat, nobody wants her to go but she isn’t fully stable at the time and decides to tag along with the encouragement of the Swedish friend who put the trip together. As they make their way to the village and the festival, Christian forgets Dani’s birthday and how long they’ve been together. He eyes underage girls and is rude to his friends in front of her. All in all he’s a scumbag.
From the trailer you know where this is heading. The festival isn’t as innocent as it appeared and some truly weird stuff happens. This movie is not the endless sense of dread and horror that permeated Ari Aster’s Hereditary last year. Midsommar takes place 90% during the day and brightly lit so the uneasiness and feelings of discomfort come from the interactions with the villagers. The supporting cast and the way they are framed in almost every scene left me with a sense of wonder as to what will happen next. The whole experience is surreal and I appreciate the lack of explanation regarding the village from Aster. The lack of a character explaining everything allowed the audience to be just as confused and nervous as the characters in the movie. I’m not sure that this movie will be praised by horror fans the way that Hereditary was but I enjoyed the experience. I love that directors can have visions like this and we get to see them go mainstream instead of having to seek them out and for that reason I hope the movie is successful.
At its core the movie is a story about a damaged girl with a terrible boyfriend who find themselves in an absolutely horrific situation they never expected. The way she deals with the realization of what Christian is and her own personal loss was very satisfying to me but I expect it will rub some people the wrong way. I should note that this movie isn’t all gloomy, Will Poulter is downright hilarious as the friend who exists in every single group of guy friends and he offered a lot of levity early in the movie. Go see Midsommar and please don’t be like Christian.