Hereditary ★★★

1st Ari Aster

I’ve had this on my iPad for a little while now, and been watching it in pieces whenever I need to be on a train. One advantage of that is that it allows me to cut through the atmosphere of intense hysteria this film develops, thereby allowing me to analyse what is going on underneath. I’d certainly love to see this in a single sitting on a big screen, though, as it feels like it would benefit from it.

Hereditary is best described as a film where the parts are bigger than the whole. It is a film where every element, from the sublime Toni Colette performance to the amazing score to the remarkable set design, are so amplified, so brilliant, that they jockey for position in a single moment. This is the film’s curse and strength; the Suspiria-Like assault on on the senses captures the narrative interest in emotional pain and chaos perfectly, but it never entirely feels composed in a way that would send emotions to the audience in a single channel, rather than the scattershot approach we have here. There are also some issues with the screenplay, especially in the father character, who is very underwritten in comparison to the rest of his family, though Gabriel Byrne gives the role the necessary gravity.

Nevertheless, I get the sense I’ll be returning to this someday, especially after I watch Midsommar. I wonder, though, that in an age of world building, is the climax of that film and the climax of this setting up an Aster universe about how demons use negative emotions to claim the living? I wonder...

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