Film Review: ‘Midsommar’

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Tali Duarte, Assistant Magazine Editor

“Midsommar,” directed and written by American filmmaker Ari Aster, is a film you don’t want to watch with your boyfriend.

The psychological horror film was so immensely disturbing, it made movie goers feel queasy to their stomachs and uneasy in their seats just like the aftermath of Aster’s 2018 hit psychological horror movie, “Hereditary.” Expectedly, people hoped to get a thrill out of his new project. The standards were met with a whole new level of “What the hell did I just watch?” But you have to watch it to really feel the disturbance.

The story follows grieving Dani as her boyfriend, Christian, extends an invitation to her for a trip to Sweden with his friends to a commune. However, he does not expect her to actually come along. Christian, on the brink of breaking up with Dani, has been nothing but emotionally absent, not helping her cope with her emotional grief. From the beginning, the troubled dynamic between the couple plays a huge role in this film. Dani and Christian travel to Sweden and end up falling into the sunny, green-hills mousetrap where folk dancing and drugs are the norm. This particular setting throws audiences off from the plot’s secret. The bright cinematography is a mask to hide the fact that Dani and Christian were lured to this place, unaware of the inevitable events to come.

Obviously, Dani and Christian are intrigued by this abnormal land Christian’s friend invited them to. The following scenes include sacrificial rituals made by the strange society which forces its visitors to partake in their culture by sacrificing them. However, Dani’s curiosity is reflective of the commune as well. The villagers specifically make Dani feel welcome, especially after she won May Queen, for which she is seen as an almighty human. She has the epiphany that Christian has been completely incompetent in his part of their relationship. The villagers empathize with her aching emotions by simply sharing those same hurtful emotions together. This is shown by a room of women crying with Dani and the whole population grieving after two villagers sacrificed themselves for the ritual. The villagers see how tender Dani truly is and together they feel with her, not toward her.

With the power the villagers gave her, she chooses to sacrifice her boyfriend. When in doubt, sacrifice your toxic boyfriend by dressing him in bear skins and setting him on fire. Worst breakup ever.

However, this action resulted in Dani receiving a bittersweet ending and a fresh beginning. The burden of their relationship is the motif of the film. Dani realizes she wants someone to empathize with her and her complex emotions so she feels less lonely. Her relationship simply didn’t follow those guidelines, so she sacrificed him to be able to move on and feel like a part of something. When people are lonely, they desire to have someone to be that shoulder to lean on because, at the end of the day, loneliness is the epitome of human fear, and we would do anything to feel like our emotions matter to someone.