MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Great filmmaking, Pretty Disturbing
I have a long, long relationship with Midsommar. During the summer of 2019, I was working at my local movie theater, where the film played 3 or 4 times a day. Of all the horror films, all the…any kinds of films, this is the only one that had people walk out early. So many people walked out early. Not just right before the credits or during…midway through. Several people left saying things like “that was the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen”. I walked in, in order to usher the film as the final, disturbing, scene played and that was my first impression. One day, an afternoon showing didn’t sell a single ticket so I was instructed to deep clean every single seat while it played. So I saw about 30 minutes of the middle of the film. Wasn’t really sold. Only recently I decided to finally watch the entire film, and I’m not sure my opinion has changed a whole lot.
The film Midsommar is essentially a break-up film. A very convoluted break-up film. The beginning of the film has some very disturbing images, but aside from that, the representation of this VERY toxic relationship is actually really good. The dialogue, acting and friend-group dynamic is really realistic and believable. Florence Pugh as Dani delivers a really powerful performance, solidifying herself as one of the best actresses coming into the industry for the past few years.
Dani, her toxic boyfriend and his friends are invited by one of the friends, Pelle, to his hometown in Sweden for a Midsummer festival. From the on-set, there is a really mysterious and suspicious vibe and its immediately clear that Pelle comes from a very strange cult. The locals do whatever they can to make everything seem safe, normal and welcoming, but as the traditions and festivities continue, we can’t help but realize things are about to go really, really wrong.
One of the first really disturbing bits is the suicide of an elderly couple, by jumping off of a cliff. On screen it is extremely bloody, gory, and gross. I don’t do well with blood, for the record. One of them doesn’t even die on the first blow and needs to be mercy killed. It is immensely disturbing. I don’t want to go much more into detail as to not spoil the film, but beware of gore, violence and lots, and I mean lots of nudity (both male and female, full frontal).
I can’t harp on the art of Midsommar. This is a very unique and artistic film and as a filmmaker I really respect the craft behind the project. All things considered, it is fairly well written, the production design is immense, the acting is pretty solid and the best part of the film is its really beautiful and fantastic cinematography. This really gets a 3.75/5 instead of a 4 or higher from me because I was so disturbed by the content. The blood, gore, sex and general themes didn’t sit right with me. Having said that, I know many people I went to film school with who absolutely adore this film. Fact of the matter is, it’s not for everyone.
Overall, the filmmaking in this film is really well done. There’s not much I can take away from that. The shot choice, size and design is just so good. Even in films that are really beautiful, I’m always able to identify a less-good shot here or there, I wasn’t able to find any in Midsommar as I watched the film. The story is mostly interesting, just be ready for the disturbing bits. Would I watch it again? I hope not. Should you watch it? If you can take it, I definitely think you should watch it.