Totally missed this one when it came out this year and was so curious to see if it was as great as I had heard.
Director: Ari Aster
Screenwriter: Ari Aster
Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren
Runtime: 148 Minutes
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
This film could have really easily have been a five star review for me. And for the first two hours I really thought it was going to be. The sad thing for me was that, for all the nerve shredding, nail biting tension, there isn’t enough of a pay off at the end to really warrant it.
After a family tragedy, Dani invites herself along with her boyfriend and his friends on a summer trip to Sweden to visit the homestead where one of them grew up. While they are there they will be taking part in a special Midsommar festival that happens every 90 years. What appears to be a quiet, idyllic commune, quickly starts to turn dark and sinister as the days go on.
The actual story that the film is telling is done masterfully. The story really is all about Dani, and we really feel and experience every one of her emotions. It is written excellently, it gets across the sense of gut-wrenching wrongness of the place, despite nothing sinister or violent ever actually happening on camera. (Ritual suicide aside of course.) I was on the edge of seat the entire time, just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you know it will the entire time. You know that they are hiding something, and this thought is just heightened even more once people start disappearing. But despite having seen a hundred horror films, and knowing exactly what is probably going on, I was still biting my nails the whole time.
Florence Pugh gives such an amazing performance in this film, wow! Those emotional scenes are hard to watch, she is literally breaking down, and none of her supposed ‘friends’ around her really seem to care. It is clear that the film is a transformative journey for her. With her starting the film heavily co-dependant on her dismissive boyfriend and ending the film feeling like she has found where she belongs. Even if that place is with a murderous, pagan cult. None of the other American characters in the film are really made to appear that likeable. And I think that may have been intentional, as a way of making it seem like they had it coming. This is painfully obvious if you take into consideration Dani’s final choice in the final ritual, by the time she chooses Christian, we all think he deserves whatever he has coming. He is a horrible person.
So all this build up and all this praise, only to be let down at the last hurdle. I was expecting a big, violent, bloody finale. Instead this film ends with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang. I can’t explain how disappointed I was with the ending of the film, especially after the 2+ hours of amazing build up. It raises more questions then it answers. I would have rather had something more concrete then what we got.
If you missed this too, Midsommar is now available to watch on DVD and Blu-ray