Evan Ambrose’s review published on Letterboxd:
🌼 2nd Viewing 🌼
🌸 Review of the Director’s Cut 🌸
Oof, bless the custom of rewatching movies.
Gaspar Noe’s Hereditary (AKA, Ari Aster’s Midsommar) has a roughly three-hour-long director’s cut out in select theaters as of now and has been rumored to be, by even Aster himself, the “True Version” of the film’s original intentions—yes, there are no nagging executives to tell Aster to cut down the film’s length this time! Who knew that 23 minutes of additional footage that was carefully impregnated throughout different locations of the film’s runtime could make for an intensely SIGNIFICANT improvement from its native, theatrical release?
One of the head flaws I had when I first watched Midsommar, was that I felt like it had a truckload of good ideas scattered in various sequences that weren’t explained or delved into timely enough. It made the experience feel more choppy than connected. Now, the director’s cut gracefully adds to those segments by placing or extending crucial sequences and moments that tie the movie together a lot more smoothly. Instead of it feeling like there are many, many contradicting ideas being loosely catapulted at us in one undisciplined outcome, it feels like there are multiple constructs that all lead up to a central suggestion. There’s an apparent, numbing flow rather than a sort of traffic jam, so to speak.
Additionally, characters are objectively more fleshed out now rather than seeming often sporadic. In the original cut, there was enough substance to create pity for our primary lead played by Florence Pugh, but in this extended edition, it was clear that Aster had a wise aspiration to shine valuable light onto some of our other star-crossed individuals. Compassion is warranted when we understand our protagonist, especially, our multiple protagonists.
And I’ll admit it, I have come around to appreciating the second half/finale of Midsommar remarkably more due to this revisit. The additional, lingering footage of initially released scenes helped the intensity of the situation protrude much more and I’ve grown to fear the bitter-some lamentation that occurs as something so horrific that has never been caught on screen quite like it has from Aster’s direction. It’s uncomfortably exotic.
So, I never thought I’d find myself radically changing my opinion on Midsommar in the course of only two months, but here we are fellas. Ari Aster please forgive me you very sad, sad director.
🏅 Verdict Change: B- —> B+
READ THE FULL REVIEW AT BURNING THE CELLULOID