Ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’m so sorry to say this, but MIDSOMMAR is an incoherent mess. So muddled with what it has to say about its characters, that it eventually loses what it wants to say surrounding their dynamics and relationships.
Following a masterful debut like Hereditary, it was extremely disheartening and disappointing to see Aster slump this badly with his next feature - a film I was quite excited to see, but was eventually spoiled for myself before I got the chance to even see it in a cinema.
The first half hour of the film is quite fantastic, I’ll say. It’s so well put together and solidified strongly with Aster’s formal style, but from then on his execution of the film fails to match his quite unique style. As soon as Dani and co. start to reach the village, the film spirals down a pit of sorrowful blabbering and incompetence.
The toxic dynamic between Dani and Christian, her boyfriend, never feels truly fleshed out despite being the epicentre of their dynamic, and yet, even as that contributes to the film’s ending, it never truly gets dissected. A lot of that is pushed aside for the quite unnecessary exploration of side characters and the village, with really just drags the film along, dauntingly.
Through all this, there’s still some light to be found in Pugh’s performance, which is brilliant despite how poorly executed the film around her is. Pugh is excellent in the first half hour and is solid all the way through. The scene where she mourns her parents during the opening is simply quite haunting; a sound that’ll quite frankly scar many people for life.
Aster’s very formal style holds much of the film together too, keeping it from being an utterly horrible film. His style gives life to most of the film despite how messy it gets, and along with Pugh attributes to some of its finer elements.
It’s a mess of a film... I admire Ari Aster and Florence Pugh quite a lot, so I’d really hope that their projects moving on from this improve, especially with Aster, who debuted with one of the best horror films out there - which also happens to be one of my favourites. If Aster’s style is a guarantee of his future works, I think we’re in store for some interesting films.