‘Midsommer’ Is An Ambitious Slow-Burn Film That’s As Gruesome As Much As It Is Divisive

Midsommer‘ was directed by Ari Aster, and follows a couple traveling to Sweden to attend a friends hometown festival called ‘Midsommer’. As the couple begins the festivities, what appeared to be a relaxing vacation slowly turns into a beautiful nightmare of violence and competition in a cult-like society.

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Ari Aster garnered a lot of popularity after his horror film ‘Hereditary’ premiered last year. With ‘Midsommer’ Aster again tackles the topic of grief but this time through the lens of a couple rather than a family.  The girlfriend played by Florence Pugh is going on this vacation as a way to escape a past trauma that she hasn’t been able to fully get over, while the boy, played by Jack Reynor feels he has put his life on hold and doesn’t have a clear direction of where to go. The festival in itself looks as if Sweden was heaven, the saturation turned way up and beautiful set designs and florals that looked fantastic. I really loved the set design and overall look of this film. There is a lot of story in the set design that you can look at and get more depth from what you are watching and I loved all the little attentions to detail that Ari Aster gave here.

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This is one of those films where an audience can sit and watch this and leave with a completely different experience. Some may love it, some may hate it, and both are valid and understandable opinions. ‘Midsommer’ wants to lure you into its story slowly, and that slow-burn may cause most audiences to lose interest. I had a friend literally walk out on the movie JUST before things ramped up because of how slow the first act was, but if you are able to wait it out and engage with the film, once the turn from heaven to hell begins, it becomes an unsettling, violent, and delightful character study that I personally had a great time analyzing and exploring well after the credits.

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All of the performances were on point, with the standout being Florence Pugh’s character who is just as heartbreaking and engaging to watch as Tony Collet in ‘Hereditary’. She is an actress to look out for in future films because she is great in this role. The story has been done in certain other horror iterations, though I won’t name them to avoid spoilers, the originality in ‘Midsommer’ comes from the characters and their relationships with each other that keeps you engaged until the big moments happen.  If you have a weak stomach or are averse to disturbing imagery, this is not the film for you.

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The film doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining to you what you are actually watching and expects you to interpret a lot of aspects of it which I might have liked just a little more clarity on, not that it should be ‘dumbed down’ but I believe there are some points in the film that is just too ambiguous for the stories sake and could’ve been expanded on more. But again, this is a hard film to review because of the content, and because of how diverse the audience reactions will be for it. I definitely recommend this to any film fan, this is a must-watch for the 2019 movie season and welcome any discussion on what you think this film is about!

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Overall, ‘Midsommer’ is a slow-burn film that evolves into a disturbing and violent horror film that I had fun watching, but it might be a little too big for its ideas in some moments that I’ll admit can take you out of the film.

 I’m giving ‘Midsommer’ an 8/10

 

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