Midsommar

Midsommar ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

"A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior." - Wikipedia (but that's right),

- 2019 Ranked: boxd.it/2lsbC

2nd viewing and I'm just not there: I'm going to focus on why this isn't a masterpiece for me but please note the 3.5/5 rating. I like this film... I like it a decent amount and understand the reasons people like it, BUT I'm just saying:

(1) I maintain that this movie is too long and not for good reason.

We often universally describe studio films as bad and more independent films as good, perhaps ignoring that both can be true and very false. To me, where indy or small studio films can go bad is when a "genius" has noone who can say no and I think that's how you get a 2 hour and 30 minute horror film. I felt the length and a lot of people did and it wasn't necessary. While there are certain whole scenes that I think would be fine for a released director's cut I think that you could just tighten up the time it takes to actually get to the village, and you could tighten up the time between the people jumping off of the cliffs and the final act.

(2) Not a huge fan of the acting-

For me, this is a serious step down from the acting in Hereditary and it is notably bad at times. Florence Pugh does an admirable job that is well above average and comparatively she is the acting aficionado of the film but let's not pretend there aren't roughly 50 people who would do a better job with this role if available. In my opinion she is good, but not iconic, in this role.

The remainder of the main cast is, in my opinion, somewhat below average. People will get defensive about this because we love worshipping casts but really tell me what was good about the acting of the four men. In both showings I watched people struggled with whether to laugh at parts where you are supposed to laugh. I blame the acting. I know it isn't reasonable to expect an all star cast but imagine the roles of Josh, Pelle and Mark were played by young versions of Daniel Kaluuya, Bill Skarsgard, and Sean William Scott. To me what makes Hereditary special is what the seasoned actors are able to do with the silence while in Midsommar I felt like I waited to see another crazy pagan ritual.

Specifically, I have a problem with the casting of Jack Reynor who I believe does a not so great job with the character of Christian. My main problem being that I don't like him, or get why someone would like him (including his friends) and I don't particularly care what happened to him. The only person I mourned for was Josh. In live discussions Ari Aster has said that he wanted people to feel conflicted about Josh getting killed but I wasn't at all, I just didn't care because I knew it was coming and I didn't have faith in Jack Reynor to do anything with it. I feel like this needed to be someone a bit more likable and hatable, like a a Jason Schwartzman type but more serious.

(3) The ending is telegraphed which is bad in itself but also makes the wait painful.

Aster is so obsessed with adding little details to show you how smart he is that sometimes he overshows his hand, which is why I think he has only begun to make films and probably has multiple masterpieces in his future. They show a fucking painting with a girl in a crown encountering a bear... she's going to be queen. Once you see the bear you're like "got it a bear thing with her as queen." The only mystery is whether any of them will live and who will get it the worst. To me, Florence Pugh's past was an obvious red herring. It was obvious from very early on that the boyfriend was pelle's "target." Or at least I thought it was obvious, maybe I'm lucky. That just leaves me waiting for 2 hours to see what happens to him so that they can turn away at the last minute. There is a difference between suspense and anxiety and in my opinion, what Ari Aster primarily creates in this film is anxiety.


I'll be blunt. If in a decade, this is talked about as an epic film that is among Aster's best works I'll eat one of my hats. One of the cleaner hats to be specific. I think SOME OF the indy folks treated this like a summer blockbuster and decided it was a 4+ rating movie before it had come out.

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