Midsommar (2019)

midsommar poster 2019 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking, different story, solid cast

Slow burn can be too slow for many

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Midsommar

Studio: Square Peg

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s): July 3, 2019

MPAA Rating: R

midsommar mushrooms cast

Fools on a hill

Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) has suffered an incredible loss.  Now as she tries to cope with the events, she finds her relationship with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) strained.  Jack’s fellow graduate students Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) have been invited by Pelle (Vihelm Blomgren) to his remote Swedish commune to witness a special midsummer ceremony that occurs once every ninety years.  With Dani in tow, the students are about to find out the real meaning of “midsommar ceremony”.

Directed by Ari Aster, Midsommer is a psychological horror thriller.  The film was released to positive reviews but highly edited from the original version to receive an R-Rating.

Overall, I liked Ari Aster’s first film Hereditary from 2018.  It had problems, but Aster’s vision and style overruled many of those problems.  Seeing Midsommar, much of the same holds true, but I feel that Midsommar had a bit more control than Hereditary.  Due to plot points of the film, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

midsommar fertility ceremony

Pretty weird that I happened to be an outsider and swooped in and became your queen…pretty weird….

The story from Midsommar is non-threatening in my opinion.  I hear the words “commune” and “solstice festival”, and I’d be out.  The pictures of people in white robes would have sealed the deal.  It is kind of the flip side of the movie.  The people are too accepting.  Someone throws themselves off a cliff and then gets their head smashed in with a hammer, “it’s just their culture” isn’t an acceptable answer…or you let them celebrate their culture by themselves.  Anyone (especially anthropology majors) would probably already question the events of a midsummer festival since they are generally all about birth, rebirth, death, and fertility…something that never seems to add up to outsiders being invited.

The cast is rather strong.  I like Florence Pugh as the lead Dani Ardor.  She seems natural and real and is great at emoting her emotions (since she is an emotional wreck).  Her boyfriend played by Jack Reynor also is good as a guy who’s finished with a relationship but trapped in it by situation.  While I don’t mind them, both William Jackson Harper and Will Poulter are kind of typical of two different types of bad Americans.  Poulter is ignorant of cultures and “bored” while Harper’s character feels above the cultures he’s “studying”…and they both pay for it.

midsommar dani queen florence pugh

I wanted to go to the beach!

What most impresses me about the movie is the style of the film.  Not only does Ari have great control of framework, he deals in allusions and symbolism.  It might be overlaid by being set in Sweden, but some of his framework reminds me of Bergman’s style.  In addition, the flowing, waving visuals of the last thirty or forty minutes really give the movie a dreamlike quality that helps build the dream into a nightmare.

Midsommar isn’t that far off from The Wicker Man (preferably the original film not the Cage version).  It follows a lot of same plotlines and themes, but it is a completely different movie stylistically.  It isn’t the type of movie that will please everyone (and honestly it could tick off some viewers who expect a more hardcore horror film).  I look forward to seeing Ari’s future work and a director’s cut of this film.

Related Links:

Hereditary (2018)

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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