Midsommar, the follow up to Hereditary
Ari Aster‘s follow-up to his surprise hit Hereditary, once again deals with grief. This time not so much in a supernatural way, but a more ritualistic one up north in Sweden. In Midsommar, Dani (Florence Pugh) tries to overcome an unthinkable family tragedy. Her rocky relationship with Christian (Jack Reynor) was about to completely fall apart, but when they decide to join his college buddies on an ill-considered trip to a remote commune in Sweden, that’s when everything truly gets put in perspective.
Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) invites his fellow grad students to his former community under a midnight sun. Folk horror and tradition lean against outdated superstition. Our American group of friends doesn’t really fit in with these white robed, strangely calm Swedes. From their arrival, their destiny has been forebode in the illustrations and paintings on the wooden walls of the community’s cabins. Without really paying attention to it, these guests have signed up for a one-way journey to death.
Eery and Unnecessary Imagery
Lots of clues and unnecessary imagery get scattered throughout the film. Nothing ever gets an explanation, it’s just there. As if the director expects audiences to know about runes and most of all, why there’s a bear in a cage that no one really addresses. Aster mostly succeeds in keeping the eeriness steady yet flowing throughout the entire film. His Hereditary cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski, is once again gifting us with extraordinary imagery that is unique on screen. While his previous film had lots of nightly shots, Midsommar takes place in broad daylight. The pastels and soft lighting give a really soothing look, that is unknown to this genre.
The acting overall is strong, with Pugh being a standout. After watching her in Fighting With My Family earlier this year and soon to be seen again in Greta Gerwig‘s adaptation of Little Women, one can definitely say – 2019 is the year of the Pugh. Her Dani makes you feel for her loss and she owns the screen. Reynor is a pretty new face for me, but I’m curious to see him take more challenging roles like this, where he gets to shine and push himself even more.
Interesting and Entertaining
Midsommar is nonetheless entertaining. Its first two acts are interesting and you want to see where this is going. The final act feels a bit stretched at a certain point and could’ve used a bigger punch when everything sizzles down at the end. As for the characters, it’s a bit too unrealistic to see them all just go along with everything without asking the real question – “what is going on?”. By the time this question does get asked, it’s already too late and we’re closer to our somewhat underwhelming finale.
Midsommar is ambitious, unsettling and trippy. Can’t wait to see where Ari Aster takes us next.
Midsommar is now playing in Australian cinemas.
How did we rate Midsommar? 4 Sodas
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