Logan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Best way to describe this movie: A trippy anti-rom-com
I, like most people on here, adored Hereditary. It's one of the greatest horror movies ever made in my opinion and dare I say one of my favorite movies of all time. It's such a refreshing, well crafted take on a horror movie. I went into Hereditary with little to no expectations, I had just heard from critics and on Letterboxd that it was amazing. I watched the trailer maybe twice and went to see it in cinemas and fell in love with it. So going into this, I had much higher expectations, I had much more hype going in.
While I think Hereditary is still the better of the two, they're both very different movies not even really comparable. They both tackle the genre of horror in their own, unique, weird ways. Midsommar is a far slower and even less of a traditional horror than Hereditary. It takes a far more surrealist approach to horror than Hereditary, which is far more grounded in realism (well, relativly speaking). But Midsommar is its own animal, it's just this total pastel coloured nightmare that revels in its metaphors and its weirdness and doesn't really care if you fully understand everything, it just takes you along for the ride.
It's a movie that'll reveal itself more in my mind once I've thought about it and read other takes on it. But as of right now, my understanding of it is that it's primarily about the breakdown of a toxic relationship amidst tragedy. It's taking this clearly failing relationship to this bright, colourful world, where the horror and the issues are buried underneath all of that. That relationship angle is what drives the whole movie and is the thing that really makes it unique and special.
The metaphorical meaning that can be derived from it is of course vast, since this is an Ari Aster movie. There's tons of moments of foreshadowing, symbolism in the characters fates, the meanings behind certain moments can be up for interpretation. It's something I'm still dissecting at this moment, but there's a lot there to dive into in terms of depth, which I don't wanna spoil.
The performances from every actor was brilliant. Florence Pugh was absolutely amazing, she total owns this role and is able to bring so much emotion and depth to the character. Asters direction, with his long takes where actors are cleverly framed within the same shot allows the actors to just act the hell out of every scene, undisturbed by any cuts.
I liked the supporting characters too. They all have this edge of untrustworthyness to them. Jack Reynor plays a kinda asshole character, but it always feels like he's a realistic character, who isn't one dimensionally a prick, making this dilemma of the toxic relationship even more relateable and filled with depth.
My boi Chidi from The Good Place was great, although a little underused. Same thing with Will Polter. Great performance, really funny, but sadly he feels underused.
The choice to make it so bright and colourful is really unique and a breath of fresh air after the incredibly dimly lit Hereditary. This movie pops visually. The movie almost verges on feeling overexposed, but it totally works. All of this paired with the phenomenal cinematography, the constantly dynamic camera that makes every shot unique and gorgeous to look at. There's some moments where in my head I was going "oh fuckk" just because of how cool the cinematography was.
Also, without spoilers, the way this movie handles drug trips is incredible. It's not particularly obvious at times, but you can occasionally notice weird movements in the background and on screen and it's not incredibly overstated and it's this extra layer in this weird trip of a movie.
The score is fantastic. It captures this lovely, beautiful etherial sound as well as the spooky, intense fucked up sound and blends them together in a way that is really effective.
The production design and the costumes were all great, this world and this environment feel so fleshed out and intricately detailed, paired with the filmmaking, it's lovely to look at, even when shit gets weird.
The VFX were great, they could've been super overbearing, but they were fairly reserved and it works.
The gore is also very.... gorey. There's not a whole lot overall, but whenever there is, it goes hard.
If I had issues, it would be pacing. It's 140 minutes, and at times you can feel it. I'm not opposed to it being a slower paced movie, I just think it should've been either cut down a bit or if there was more within that 140 minutes to justify that runtime.
Also, there's some pretty major events that just happen off-screen, which is kind of irritating. I think it's moreso annoying when you go in expecting a horror movie, and you don't really get that cathartic horror movie thrills that you'd normally get out of stuff like this. But I do feel in a way the choice for most of this to be off-screen is somewhat of an intentional choice, but again I could be reading into it too much. Either way it kinda bugged me.
Overall though, I loved it. If you go see it, don't go in expecting a horror movie. Don't go in expecting a Hereditary 2. Midsommar is it's own thing very different from any horror movie I've seen before. I can entirely see why people can hate it. I saw quite a few walk-outs, which I rarely ever see in cinemas. It feels like another case where an A24 movie has kinda been mismarketed to bring in more general audiences, only for them to end up hating the actual movie (my screening was weirdly packed, which I genuinely didn't expect), but I get it. However, I legitimately loved it and it's unsurprisingly one of my favourites of this year.