Midsommar easily gives cults a bad name.
If you ever acquire the golden opportunity of traveling to a foreign country with your significant other (is that term still used?), and their friends, to witness and participate in some kind of sunny season, 90 year ritual, you may want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. Especially if it’s outside the U.S. And most of all if it turns out that the ritual is part of a dangerous cult. At least you’d have a better chance to escape here in America.
Hereditary director Ari Asters sophomore feature “Midsommar”, drives this horrifying dilemma into your mind, heart and soul, drawing you in as a reluctant participant, literally challenging yourself with the eternal question, “What would I do in this situation?” Skillfully executing a melding of 60’s Charles Manson and 70’s Jim Jones, he candidly bestows upon cults, and everything about them, an extremely bad reputation.
After an ominously somber opening, we are introduced to slightly agitated college student Dani Ardor (Fighting with my Family’s Florence Pugh). She’s definitely dealing with some personal family problems which can be quite annoying to her present flame Christian (Jack Reynor), and his friends. However, when the personal problem transforms into a horrifying tragedy, Dani shifts from slight agitation to full blown grief.
To help relieve his mournful girlfriend of a near perpetual breakdown, Christian invites her to join him and his friends on a special trip to Sweden. where his good buddy Pelle will be participating in a certain religious ritual held every 90 years. Sounds fun to Dani, especially since it includes elaborate dress up.And besides, it just maybe the remedy for taking her rattled mind off of her recent hardship.
Upon arriving in the Scandinavian country and Pelle’s home village Harga, it doesn’t take long for Dani to realize that some slightly odd behaviors among the residents, may or may not belie the fun and pleasantness she was expecting. There’s something ominously strange about this diamond “ritual”. Even dangerous.She’s not the only one with grave suspicions either.
But while everyone else is candidly engrossed in the various activities of this close knit community, Will Poulter definitely has other risque things in mind. Especially regarding the comely young female members of the group. All his cognitive thinking taking an eager crashdive below his waist line, provides just the right amount of laugh relief.
Florence Pugh is perfectly innocent as the emotionally rattled Dani, who, despite some negative vibes, faithfully clings to her boyfriend, Christian (Transformers Age of Extinction’s Jack Reynor). As both become more and more deeply involved with the rituals, their character arcs take on an interesting dramatic curve.
Aster has created beautifully sinister surroundings as he did for HEREDITARY, aptly supported by that film’s DP Pawel Pogorzelski, engaging your senses with the seemingly limitless vistas of this rural hometown and it’s inhabitants. It’s also charmingly enhanced by costumer Andrea Flesch’s chaste wardrobe which creates an effectively innocent, yet disturbingly dreamlike persona for everyone. Initially, pastoral,then becoming brazenly nightmarish.