” Welcome, and happy Midsommar. Skål!”Review by Lewis Goodall
Midsommar is a messed up journey that follows Dani (played by Flourance Pugh), her boyfriend Christian (played by Jack Reynor) and Christians friends as they travel to Sweden to visit a rural village that celebrates the Midsommar tradition every ninety years. As they arrive to the festival all seems to be a perfect getaway for the group, but things slowly erode as the festivities become increasingly bizarre and increasingly violent.
I really cant go into detail about this film as it’s such an experience that it has to be witnessed first hand so I wont be talking about any plot points apart from I’ve said in the first paragraph.
This film is uncomfortable to watch, in the best way. I felt weird being in the cinema with a bunch of strangers around me who were also just as uncomfortable as me. This film takes a very dark turn and it happens very quickly. The pacing of the story in Midsommar was very reminiscent of old school horror, where it builds the story for 80% of the film and then brings it all crashing down at the end which I was a huge fan of because it meant it gave you time to really get invested into the characters. Alot of horrors these days focus on cheap jump scares and stupid endings where people get sucked into a portal or characters can suddenly start climbing up walls and stuff like that really takes you out of the experience in my opinion. This situation happens in Ari Asters first film Hereditary. I loved that film but the end brought it down in my books because it just gets too weird and unbelievable. Midsommar nails the WTF ending but makes it believable to the point where you are just so uncomfortable in your seat because what you’re watching isn’t out of the realm of possibility of what could happen in real life, and I’m a huge fan of this approach from Ari this time around
Ari Aster is a director I’m really keeping an eye on, in fact both eyes because his films are amazingly crafted. I thought the same about Hereditary and he continues this trend with midsommar. Every frame was a painting, the cinematography of this film blew me away. The quality of every shot had me feeling the same way a dog looks at food when you hold a piece of food up for that good boy. You can tell a lot of thought went into every shot of this film to create a beautiful Swedish landscape. Having folk art work around the scenery which all in their own right told a separate story was just a stroke of genius and opened it up for a lot of foreshadowing and general symbolism which makes me really want to watch this again just to try and see all the hidden details which I’m sure there were 1061, or somewhere around that number.
In terms of the landscape, the film is pretty much always in sunlight which I thought was a perfect contrast to normal horror films that take place all in the dark to where you’re squinting to see the demons. As this film was all in the sunlight it really makes you feel welcomed the whole time, a way to draw you in to the surroundings and make you feel as comfortable as the characters.
The characters themselves are all acted incredibly apart from one. Florence who plays dani, the protagonist is definitely the brightest bulb throughout this film in terms of acting. It was superb, there’s one scene of her crying at the beginning and just the way she was crying hit my hard, I’d go as far as to say the most realistic crying I’ve seen in a film, it was that good, it was the same sort of crying most people have whilst watching ‘The Green Mile’.
Overall the acting was fantastic apart from one of the friends who goes on the trip. He was the friend who introduces them all to the festival in the first place as he’s Swedish and his family are a part of it. The actors name was Vilhelm Blomgren, and yes I’m calling you out. His performance was just stale and reminded me of Tommy Wiseau in the room. This thought was solidified when I learnt that one of the other characters name was ‘Mark’ and then it was settled that I was just watching a Swedish Tommy.
Apart form his acting the only other gripe that I would have with the film is in one particular scene with the sound editing. Again I’m not saying anything because you need to experience this film for yourself but this one scene, it was very tense, it was the first sign in the film that shit was about to hit the fan and when said thing happened, the sound went silent, there was no noise when I expected this certain event to be very loud and if it was really loud I feel it would’ve had more of an effect but as it was silent it took me out of the moment a bit.
Apart from those 2 urkes I had with this film, I loved it. I love a film that can really mess with your mind and keep you thinking way after the film, “What the hell just happened?”. Just the pure love that went into this film from Ari was really apparent throughout as the film as a whole is absolutely gorgeous, even down to the music. It’s a slow burner but once it hits that turning point, it just explodes into a big WTF fest. It’s like watching a slow motion video of someone dropping a bowl of soup, the whole time you’re watching you know that at some point that bowls going to hit the ground and erupt into a big soupy mess (that happening in a universe where dropping soup on the floor is a really good thing).