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Film Review: “Midsommar” (2019), Directed by Ari Aster

Gazdovici Horia, 11F

There are many films that exceed in making the viewer uncomfortable, disgusted and dazed, among them would have to be titles such as “Requiem for a Dream” and “Come and See”. Yet both of these films present their events as being part of the same reality, be it a drug-infused New York or the war-weary villages of 1944 Belarus. “Midsommar”, however, decides to break away from the reality that we as viewers from the 21st century know, and the more it does, the more disturbing it is.

The premise of the movie is that Dani, an emotionally unstable woman in her later years of college, goes on a trip to Sweden with her boyfriend’s friend group to the Norse pagan commune where Pelle (a member of the friend group) is from. Here they meet Pelle’s family and his community, and they are all just as nice as he is, although their customs are what one might call unusual.

Besides the immense tragedy that strikes Dani’s family, she and Christian (her boyfriend) are having some problems, and both the tragedy and the conflict, along with Florence Pugh’s breathtaking performance, make Dani one of the most complex characters put to screen this century. She is always split between being complacent with everything around her to being revolted by the pagan traditions that the members of the commune practice, and what makes everything ten times worse is that the traditions are being carried out with the utmost normality by the villagers.

It is so that a thought creeps into our minds, and once it’s there, getting it out is near impossible, that mentality and tradition are what define morality and a whole other worldview. But the villagers aren’t self-aware, they view everything they do as perfectly okay. So, what if it’s the same for us in the normal world, only we don’t have anybody to tell us that what we do is barbaric? This concept, which so wily creeps up on us as viewers, along with the beautiful yet sometimes horrific imagery and the events carried out on the screen make “Midsommar” feel like a fever dream that we’re cursed to never want to wake up from, nor feel like we have to.

Thus, “Midsommar” has solidified itself as one of the best films to ever come out of the folk horror genre, a masterpiece of storytelling ridden with deep philosophy and Nordic traditions.

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