Midsommar ★★★½

Once again, I arrive late to the festivities. Ari Aster's raved-about Midsommar (2019) comes with a high dose of hype from the Letterboxd community and I had read several non-spoiler reviews before entering the state of locked-in syndrome for two hours and twenty-four minutes. As such, I had prepared myself for what a friend of mine called a psychedelic drama.

That much was true, but what I didn't anticipate was a disjointed experience that, to me, felt unsure about what direction it wanted to go. There is a seriously symbolic allegory at play here, which I thoroughly enjoy, but the way the story is realized comes across to me as if Aster during the climax became infatuated with the bizarre, spiritual rituals, fogging the ideas and problems of what could have been one of the greatest films about modern relationships.

Still though, I was blown away by the prologue, and by the visuals that seriously elevate this bright folk horror film. The beautifully eerie floating camera makes this, in some ways, feel like an 'outside' The Shining. And I was blown away by Pugh's performance - one of the most interesting actresses out there right now. The way she cries and screams and stares blankly as if everything she felt and thought was covered in smoke, unclear and dark. Reynor was great as the stuck-in-a-rut boyfriend who wanted out but couldn't, and his features of mean-spirited passivity and douchey, manipulative carelessness are well-incorporated into the story.

What Aster has created here is undoubtedly good, but halfway through his relationship with, well, the relationship, he had a trippy affair with the cult, leaving behind a horde of great moments and situations that didn't amount to the extraordinary but sure as hell trippy.

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