Midsommar will very likely melt quite a few brains in the theater. Twenty-four hours after experiencing Ari Aster’s version of he’s not that into you, I’m still not exactly sure what to make of the film. There were parts of the film which seemed to drag on for a millennia. Other times Midsommar seemed brisk. Most of the time, the experience was a twisted affair which critics will applaud, and average fans will leave stunned at what transpired. For those who thought Hereditary was a little too much, well … let’s say that film is an after-school special compared to his latest foray into the macabre.
At times, the film did seem like a bit of a vanity project where Aster was cashing in all the critical acclaim from his last project to make this one. There’s dark, and then you have something like this. Midsommar at times was so incredibly visceral that it became exhausting to watch, but at the same time, I was transfixed on what was occurring. Was I that engrossed in the storyline? No, it was more of me wondering just how more twisted this film could get.
So what’s Aster’s latest about. Well, if you have seen the trailer, then the narrative is pretty self-explanatory. Christian (Jack Reynor) and Dani (Florence Pugh) are in a relationship which is hanging on by a thread. His pals want him to dump her. Christian is trying to do the right thing, and when you think he’s ready to end it, unspeakable tragedy strikes Dani. He, of course, is somewhat noble and sticks around to help her cope. Christian then gets the idea that having Dani tag along on his guy trip to Sweden to visit a commune one the exchange students resides in. Let’s just things get real trippy once they make it across the Atlantic.
Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor each gave great performances. Pugh’s facial expressions of anguish and agony mixed with those subtle looks of feeling tortured were fabulous. Reynor’s performance was the perfect FOIL to Pugh’s. He was such an asshole to Dani. Pawel Porgorzelski’s cinematography was exquisite as it perfectly captured those fleeting moments of beauty even in madness. My favorite shot was during the final sequence of the film, which I will refrain from diving into at the risk of spoiling the movie. Let’s say he perfectly captures the metamorphosis of an individual lead in the film. The Haxan Cloak’s score was perfect at captured the madness of what was slowly unfolding over those nine days.
Overall, I’m not sure why most fans (even ones who love horror) would want to subject themselves to Midsommar. Perhaps, anyone, with slight masochistic tendencies, would enjoy putting yourself through the type of torture Aster inflicts on the senses. That being said, I do appreciate the beauty he finds in the brutality, which is clearly on display. I wonder if a film such as this will find an audience. Aster certainly has a devoted fan base. The problem is Hereditary was a much better film than Midsommar. Only time will tell if Aster can pull a rabbit out a hat once again.