Midsommar ★★★½

“We’re going to stand until it’s right to sit.”

Midsommar is Ari Aster’s expression of madness.

Before the title of the film is even shown, the opening is already ultra-traumatic. It taunts the audience: we’ve already experienced so much that to think we are about to be disturbed some more is almost unfathomable. The first act caters to its low-budget: claustrophobic rooms with a minimal amount of characters. I thought they’d NEVER get to Sweden, as the set-up took forever. It wasn’t slow per se, but I could literally see them scrimping and saving every penny. But fear not: later in the film it seems they spared no expense on the costumes, set design, buildings, the tables, the food, the aerial shots (at least three big ones), the blood, the entrails, the fires, etc.

“I could see you possibly doing that.”

There are some cool visuals:
-The shot that’s flipped upside down when Dani (Florence Pugh), her boyfriend, and his bros are on the way to a Swedish festival.
-Dani’s POV when she’s high

We meet some ultra-weird characters, including:
-Pelle, Dani’s boyfriend’s friend, who tries to be empathetic to the max
-Ruben, an inbred, disabled person with an unusual face that recalls Charlie from Hereditary

Speaking of Hereditary, everyone probably wants to know how Ari Aster’s sophomore effort compares to his first. The strength of Hereditary lies in its stellar cast; to me the third act was completely unhinged and was not scary or worthy of the first two acts. I was actually anticipating Midsommar to have the same problems and I braced myself. While the cast is not as well known, and none of them have the acting chops of Toni Collette, they’re all still really good, especially Florence Pugh. And here’s a shoutout to William Jackson Harper (Chidi from The Good Place). Other that him, I’m not sure I was overly familiar with any of the other actors.

Still, the way the story unfolds is intriguing. Without giving too much away, there’s a scene with 12 women (all full frontally nude), and a thirteenth woman in the center (also nude). First of all, I’m not sure how they could have gotten away with that much nudity for a movie that was rated “R”, especially since the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated exposed how much the MPAA hates it when women’s pubic hair is shown. Why were there twelve women that supported the 13th woman? It evoked Jesus Christ and his disciples, but I am not going to pretend to know what Ari Aster was going for. I also don’t know what kind of family drama Ari Aster is working through, but I hope it takes him a long time to mull over it and that there is plenty of fodder for future films. I could go on about the set design, the alphabet, the screaming, the betrayals, but let me just end it here. I’ve been as vague as possible so as to not ruin your viewing experience of Midsommar, but I am also considering doing a spoiler review too, so stay tuned.

Vegan alert:
-Flies on rotting meat
-Dani attempts to eat a fish whole
-Legs of chicken shown
-Raw meat and egg are buried.
-The intestines of a bear are cut out.
-A man wears the bear skin.

Violence alert:
Humans are shown killing and being killed. There is a ton of blood, gore, and intestines.

Allison liked these reviews

All