Midsommar

Midsommar ★★★★★

To celebrate the summer solstice I decided to revisit one of the best horror films of the season, Midsommar! Prior to this, so much of my enjoyment in this film has been through my empathizing with Dani and taking pleasure in her growth and sense of freedom at the end. The loneliness and isolation Dani is experiencing in the beginning of this film are what makes it so easy for me to fall in line with her. All too often these last few years, I have felt a great loneliness as well, so seeing a character find community is often cathartic. Only while watching this time, the long term indoctrination was more apparent.

Starting out in the dead of winter, both literally and metaphorically to represent Dani's grief, sadness, and loneliness was something I only now picked up on and sets the foundation for the climax of fire and light, where she finds the community and connection she has been longing for. Ari Aster does an amazing job throughout the film of prepping small moments where Christian emotionally or physically isolates Dani, where she feels uncomfortable with the group she is with, only for those concerns to melt away slowly and surely once in Sweden.

"Do you feel held by him? Does he feel like home to you?" was the true turning point for Dani, as she begins to embrace the local community and leave Christian behind. Again, I think of the trap I fell into watching this the first two times. Because, I too, just wanted to Feel Held, so I bought into it all, just like Dani did. Obviously, there are people who caught onto the manipulation long before I did, but there is something to be said about being honest about your loneliness.

This leads to the climax of the film, of Dani discovering Christian during the,,,, ritual and the subsequent catharsis scream with Dani and the other women. It is in this scene that the indoctrination is complete and Dani has fully bought in. No longer can I read this scene as finally finding a true community, even if it is Dani's release from the guilt, sadness, and loneliness. Now this scene and the ending are the ultimate triumph of a cult and the mentality of preying on those of us, who are feeling alone or scared. This rewatch of Midsommar provided a greater degree of clarity and added dimensions to a film that I loved, but now appreciate in a new way.

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