This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
☆ Sophie ☆’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Traumatic, surreal, and a bizarre masterpiece, ‘Midsommar’ was unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced before. This film was the first Ari Aster film I've watched, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into before watching this film. I'm so glad I finally got around to watching this. As much as this movie is disturbing and horrific, it's also so beautiful and visually stunning. I was expecting this to be a scary/horror movie. However, I felt it was more of a psychological horror film than anything else. It's a slow movie, and it takes its time to reveal the pure madness of the Swedish cult retreats. It's not scary in the way that most horror films are scary. It felt more unsettling and traumatic rather than frightening. Florence Pugh is absolutely phenomenal. She provides the heart for the film, and it's what keeps the audience emotionally invested in such a disturbing movie. It's one of the greatest horror performances that I have ever seen.
The cinematography is stunningly gorgeous. I've never seen a film look so gory and grotesque and yet absolutely beautiful at the same time. It's some of the best cinematography that I've ever seen in a movie. The art direction is also phenomenal in providing us with a floral, candy-colored, nightmare world. It's almost as if Wes Anderson had a hand in directing this modern horror flick. Ari Aster's screenplay and direction is what makes this so unique and separates it from other horror pieces. It's slow, methodical, and eerie. But the characters are psychological and deep. The dialogue is real and colorful. The plot is surreal and disturbing. The film allows for the 'scares' to crawl at you as opposed to jump at you. It also allows you to see what will happen, process it, feel the shock of what's about to happen, and then still shock you, even more, when it happens.
I let this film sit with me after I watched it, and there's so much foreshadowing and symbolism Ari Aster lays down for the viewer to digest during and after watching the film. The film unveils itself unapologetically as if Aster has no intention of hiding anything from us in the first place. Yet the film establishes its rhythm and pacing. The foreshadowing on the paintings and the walls were so subtle, yet so in your face, it was impossible to miss. I came to discover this film is so much more than a modern horror film revolving around cult rituals. It's about losing family and gaining a new one by going through the three stages of trauma, mourning, and closure. In the end, Dani (Florence Pugh) finally lets go of Christian who she felt drowned and held back by and stopped trying to convince herself to accept him because he was suffocating her. It's liberating in a horrific way.
'Midsommar' is also weirdly a feminist film because she's liberated from her trauma and allowed a space to let out all the pain finally when she's on the floor screaming with the girls. Even though it differed with Christian *fucking* the girl and procreating for the tribe, it allowed her to let everything out. Overall, this film is a thematic reflection and catharsis on emotional dependency.
**P.S. I rarely ever rate movies a 9/10 after the first watch so that says something about the film itself.