Midsommar has always made it to Top 10 lists of weird movies and I, for one, became quite intrigued by it. However, I did not want to spoil myself so I mostly steered clear of explainers and the like. I finally got a chance to see it in its entirety and I now fully understand why it came to such notoriety.
Synopsis: Dani (Florence Pugh) has always been on the verge of depression but she finally snaps when she learns that her bipolar sister killed their parents and herself in a murder suicide. In a last minute decision, she joins her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his buddies to Sweden on a trip to visit a commune and participate in their Midsummer rituals.
Before we discuss the commune, lets talk about Dani and Christian’s fragile relationship and its impact on the overall flow of the story.
While Dani was understandably troubled and paranoid, the first in the series of pitfalls that led to the tragedy was Christian’s cowardice. His decision to stay in the toxic relationship because he was afraid he might want his girlfriend back somewhere along the line and regret his decision to dump her was an epic misstep.
He was clearly miserable, and he made Dani feel like he was doing her a favor by staying with her. He stayed with her and tried to play the part of a dutiful boyfriend but he was also communicating his misery to her, leading to her uncertainty about their relationship on top of her issues with her family. It was toxic.
The second pitfall was his decision to let Dani tag along to Europe, given her fragile condition, his friends’ obvious dislike for her, and their obvious reluctance to have her join their trip. It was a recipe for disaster from the very beginning.
The ending actually came as no surprise because from the time they stepped into the commune, there was already a very Wicker Man vibe about the movie. The script also blatantly told the characters everything they needed to know about the ritual if they paid attention to the meaning behind it.
Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) honestly answered Dani when she asked what happened to people who turned 72 in the commune. He also dropped hints about being a May queen. The people in the commune talked about having outsiders mate with their women to get the best bloodlines too. The film basically laid out everything in the first half of the movie and delivered on the promise in the second half.
While the characters each dealt with their own drama, they became even more vulnerable to their fate. Instead of becoming more alert and vigilant however, they opened themselves up for even more misfortune by blindly taking what was offered by the dubious commune members. I can’t say that viewers could build a connection with the characters because they all seemed out of it, with or without the drugs. Characters like Mark (Will Poulter) was definitely added to play the resident jerk, and Josh (Wilson Jackson Harper) was simply there to add diversity to the group.
The quiet set up and stomach turning payout made the movie more impactful. It weighed heavily on audiences’ minds long after the credits have rolled. Adding to the surreality of the movie was the brilliant use of cinematography and color contrasts to set the tone in various points of the film. The film was brutal and unapologetic and it was WEIRD. The collective chanting, singing and crying, would have made me run for the hills if I witnessed it. No questions asked.
All in all, Midsommar was weird but it also made sense (in a way). The signs were all there and the ending seemed plenty justified. Basically everyone got what they deserved, and a small part of me was happy for Dani, even though the means that she arrived was anything but normal.