Film Review: MIDSOMMAR (2019) Dir. Ari Aster
Listen, if ‘Hereditary’ scared the hell out of you last summer, then you are not prepared for ‘Midsommar’.
It is Tense. Exhilarating. Stressful. Gorgeous. Trippy. Heartbreaking. And downright creepy as fuck.
Dani (Florence Pugh) is in the midst of grieving when her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) invites her to a Swedish festival that occurs every 90 years. While it’s all fun and games for Christian’s bros (William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, and Will Poulter), the bright festivities dwindle into darkness while the sun shines upon them.
Pugh kills it. No pun intended. Her haunting performance is a vivid arc lamenting the treacherous endurance of mourning. A watershed of passionate tears flow down her cheeks; blotting in time for the festive finale. As some are describing the film as a breakup picture, Pugh and Reynor’s authentic chemistry is palpable of a rocky relationship.
What Aster masters is his ability to slow burn the characters (and the audience) into a blazing inferno. With a confident plot vamped by breathtaking art direction and costume design, the picture captivates concern and awareness throughout the 140 minute runtime. However, I did turn my head during graphic moments depicting emotional and psychical brutality (sorry Ari. I’ll try my best to catch them the second time around).
Also to note is a game changer not only in horror, but film in general. A man runs away from peril while cladding his full-frontal nude body. He is afraid, broken, and alone. In this moment we see the vulnerability in Reyonor’s eyes and hope he finds safety. For all the years of women represented in this position, ‘Midsommar’ is turning the Damsel in Distress table onto men by dismantling the Knight in Shining Armor archetype through visualizing male fragility and defenselessness.
While we celebrate 50 years since the monumental music festival, ‘Midsommar’ is Woodstock if the Manson Family and Jim Jones headlined.
If ‘Tenebrae’, ‘The Virgin Suicides’, and the original ‘The Wicker Man’ crave your palette, then you are in for a treat. Mark your calendar for July 3rd!
P.S. for the Astrology enthusiasts, the cast is predominantly Aquarius so you already know the stars aline for an emotional rollercoaster!