review by Bobby Blakey
Director Ari Aster received mixed results with his last film Hereditary which I loved. Whether you liked it or not there is no denying that he delivered a memorable film that made you think. Now he is back with his latest film Midsommar starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, and Will Poulter. Could this be another great addition to Aster’s creative genius or will it be a trip you want to get away from?
Midsommar follows a young woman, already dealing with the death of her parents, who joins her boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden, to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
The trailer for this movie gives you the vibe of the films like The Wicker Man, but there is so much more here. Right out of the gate there is a situation that slaps you in the face to set the tone for Florence Pugh’s character. There is a crying sequence that wraps it up before moving towards the commune that is so real and cuts into your soul with its realism and tone. Throughout the film Pugh continues to give an excellent performance as she is forced to showcase so much torment and emotional struggle that it had to be exhausting. For this film to work she had to be all in and she gave it everything she had and it worked to perfection.
The rest of the cast do a good job as well, but for the most part this is all Pugh. The other cast members bring their own emotions and struggles to their roles, but for the most part they are the more normal people with Poulter bringing more of the humor early on and both Reynor and Harper the more inquisitive nature to
everything they are witnessing. All of them work well together and are forced to go through some pretty out there stuff, more some than others that I applaud them all for going all in to create this brilliant film.
The story is a bit out there in overall execution which is why I love it so much. It is the kind that makes total sense in relation to the nature of its tone if you are willing to really let yourself submerge into it all. Make no mistake this is one of those films that you will either be all in or find yourself in a state of confusion. This is not a horror film in the sense of it being scary but instead of the bothersome nature of it all and realism that will no doubt affect everyone differently. There isn’t a ton of gore, but the bit that is here is front and center. The cinematography is perfection offering up some brilliant transitions, breathtaking landscapes and tones that are a character all their own.
This is not a film that you can just casually watch and walk away from. It takes you on an emotional and trippy journey that is filled with vibrant beautiful and horrific visuals, creepy vibes, emotional struggle and so much more. There are so many small elements throughout the film that hint to its future and leads into a finale that caps it perfectly. I firmly believe that director Aster has delivered a masterpiece here that might not resonate with everyone but will no doubt stand the test of time. His visual style and slow purposeful storytelling is masterful and I cannot wait to see what he does next.