Midsommar ★★★★½

Does he feel like home to you? 

Certainly helped that I never saw a second of a trailer, but every moment of this was completely gripping for me. Framed by intense, sudden grief in the midst of already struggling to find emotional satisfaction and comfort outside of the family, Dani is primed for a psychological breakdown and where better to set that than in this Swedish commune where externally everything is beautiful and inviting but is really buried in centuries of violence in the name of tradition. I'm still piecing together the symbolism and trying to discern what's literal/metaphorical, but I think to focus on that is to miss the overall point. Those feelings of isolation and confusion are highlighted so fervently and distinctly throughout (in a way that Hereditary only did mildly and with less direction) that builds to this sense of overwhelming dread that I have not experienced in a while. Each of the conflicts, the community, the performances evolve so naturally throughout and I only wanted it to keep progressing and pushing for hours more.

What I also appreciate, especially in the era of winks and callbacks, is how unironic and seriously it takes itself. I had chills through the opening credits just because of what had been set up so succinctly. That heaviness carries all the way through and weaves itself into every character's minds until it brings out their worst selves. The commune with shining faces and open arms as a backdrop for the evils of jealousy, cynicism, and apathy is perfectly unsettling and I loved basking in every extended, uncomfortable shot.

Overall, surprised by how much I loved it. Not the horror or comedy I was promised, but something really revealing in the middle. Lots to mull over still, and definitely not something to blow off.

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