Midsommar ★★★★½

Collector's Edition finally shipped and the director's cut was well worth the wait as well as the hefty price tag. I didn't have trouble appreciating Dani and Christian's relationship in the theatrical version but this expands their problems and shows more fully developed version of that. What is hugely improved upon is Christian and Josh's quarrel about their thesis which ties together the oddities of this Swedish village with our society. Scenes are added to strengthen Hårga's connection to Dani through rituals, manipulation of the people around her and self-discovery that brings an end to her own arc by continuing the cycle of their tightly kept, harmful secrets. Despite the cathartic ending I think it would be dumb to say there's a right or wrong as we can see how Dani's world is molded similarly by both Christian and Hårga.

Midsommar has ton of juxtaposing and the Hårga community is used as a tool to express Dani's life, her family and relationship. Aster not only paints a expertly realized picture of this outlandish world, selling the concept and folk aspect from storytelling viewpoint but uses it to tackle issues about intimate relationships in horror setting.

For me this is Aster's best film technically and thematically even if it might lose against Hereditary in scariness, originality and pure shock factor when it comes to those final moments. Big part of my love for Midsommar is obviously Florence Pugh. I can still vividly remember how shocked I was last year by this anonymous actor whom I had never seen before. I think her rise is one of the best things that happened last year. She gives such a finely crafted and detailed performance in Dani's role. Pugh has an ability to bring weight to every scene with the smallest gestures and there's something truly breathtaking in her demeanor. Subtle and delicate emotions conveyed equally as effortlessly as large ones. I feel it in my bones how her naturalism shocks but calms at the same time - tough subject approached with beautiful sense of realism and familiarity. Pugh evokes empathy very deeply and makes me understand a person completely to their core. She's easily one of the best actors working today.

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