Midsommar ★★★

I really, really wanted to love Midsommar. But unfortunately, this is one of the most frustrating movies I’ve seen all year. I do like it but it just makes so many missteps.

It’s not that there aren’t incredible things in Midsommar; the opening movement is outstanding, Florence Pugh gives one of the year’s best performances (though not quite approaching the brilliance of Lupita Nyong’o in Us), and I think the final moments of the film deliver the most satisfying ending of the year. Also, everything on a technical level is top notch. 

But god, Ari Aster simply does not have the screenwriting chops to pull this off. He’s playing with too many themes and not committing to ANY of them. It begins as a meditation on grief, but over the course of the film just abandons that track and becomes something else. Thematic evolution can work, and is frequently the cornerstone of great storytelling (Synecdoche New York, Suspiria 2018, Her), but it just doesn’t evolve organically here. It’s too ambitious, even for Aster.

I’ve always believed that if a movie is thematically sound, narrative flaws can be easily overlooked. But this movie doesn’t make any sense narratively OR thematically. How disappointing :/

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