Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
“Welcome to Harga, and happy midsummer! It has been ninety years since our last great feast, and it will be ninety years before our next. And what poetry that it’s now the hottest and brightest summer on record. We already have so much to give back. And so, without any further blathering, let’s raise our glasses, and let our nine day feast commence. Skål!”
Ari Aster’s second feature is a very strange one. I have to admit it, after the success with Hereditary (2018), everyone was curious to see what the future will bring to Aster, or what will Aster bring to us in the future. The result is “not great, not terrible” to quote an astonishing production. A very slow movie, even slower than the one I mentioned above, but, unfortunately, not as good as his first feature. During the film, I was nervous, intrigued, excited, and again nervous because of the screenplay, which becomes worse after the first half of the film. I don’t even want to talk about that ending, which left me with a sweet-bitter taste, more bitter than sweet.
I will summarize the story in a couple of words, without spoilers, of course. The protagonist is Dani (Florence Pugh), who had been through some terrible and tragic events. Now, she became a distant person who doesn’t like to be around people. She is distracted by almost everything, and sometimes has a bipolar behaviour with her boyfriend and with some of their friends. All of these scenes are way too long in my opinion, although I understood at first the director’s choice. Unfortunately, the whole film could have been shorter, I mean it has 147 minutes. I think they could have a 90-100 minutes feature without any plot holes.
Returning to the plot, one of their friends tells the group about a great Swedish traditional festival, Midsommar. So, they decide to visit Sweden and to go to Midsommar. Which, at first, seems to be an idyllic spiritual celebration, becomes a nightmare for the group, especially for the unstable couple. You’ll watch some brutal and explicit scenes, which disgusted me, to be honest. That’s all you need to know if you want to watch this film.
Now, I will stop criticising this film, and I will say what I liked about it. First of all, the cinematography is remarkable. Every scene, every shot is so beautiful. The soundtrack and sound editing are unforgettable. The impact wouldn’t be the same without this score. The production design is another strength of this production, with some beautiful costumes, very similar to the ones in Romania. And, of course, the acting of the protagonist, one of the craziest performances from last year, but in a good way. She amazed me from the beginning till the end. I think she was the reason why I watched this film ’till the end. Florence Pugh is a very interesting actress, and I’ll follow her future productions.
To sum it all, it is a good movie, but it could have been better if the screenplay was a little bit different. It is worth watching especially by the genre’s fans, because of its explicit and repulsive scenes. I’d give 4/5 for the whole film at most. I don’t think I’ll watch it again, but who knows. Enjoy it, and stay safe!