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krankydoodle

Midsommar (2019)

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It doesn't look like this will do as well as Ari Aster's last film Hereditary, especially since it's almost 2.5 hrs long, but I'm guessing it'll be just as--if not more--divisive. I saw it last night and am still not sure if I liked it. Florence Pugh was fantastic, though, and I laughed more at this movie than I have at most comedies. There were a few moments of graphic violence, but strangely enough I was most bothered by one of the flowers in Dani's May Queen crown opening and closing like it was breathing or blinking. Ugh, that made me so uneasy for some reason.

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I don't think I liked it, but I'm still thinking about it, so it definitely made an impression. The actors were great, but it was too long. I read that Aster considers it a dark comedy, and that makes sense. My theater laughed a lot, and there was a collective WTF as we left. 

I am confused about the timeline. Swedish guy said the festival was every 90 years, but there were so many pictures of different May queens. Is that something they do every year, and the rituals are every 90 years? Plus Swedish guy also said his parents died in a fire, and after the end, I was thinking they died in one of those fires, but ?? again with the timeline. 

I did appreciate Dani finally being able to feel and express unfettered her rage and grief as someone who also constantly tries to suppress what I feel, but there are easier ways to break up with someone. 

18 minutes ago, krankydoodle said:

I was most bothered by one of the flowers in Dani's May Queen crown opening and closing like it was breathing or blinking

I couldn't stop staring at it. Then I noticed a few other flowers were doing it, too, but I kept coming back to that one. 

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3 minutes ago, calliope1975 said:

I am confused about the timeline. Swedish guy said the festival was every 90 years, but there were so many pictures of different May queens. Is that something they do every year, and the rituals are every 90 years? Plus Swedish guy also said his parents died in a fire, and after the end, I was thinking they died in one of those fires, but ?? again with the timeline. 

Those are great questions. I listened to an interview with Aster, but unfortunately that didn't come up.

I was frustrated by how the newcomers were behaving at many points, but I did like that at least the London couple reacted in a way I think most people would during the cliff ritual, not that it saved them but at least they didn't just brush it off like most of the American group did. They were also the only ones to notice and ask about the poor bear.

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I wonder when activists from the Wicca community will complain about how it shows them in a bad light?  Also, everyone seemed so very nice and that the two dead Americans (not including the guy who got laid), seemed to have deserved it.

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That damn flower. I commented on it to my friend.

 I enjoyed it but thought it took too long.

And I confessed I laughed more than I should have.

The poor bear.  

It was as if Aster said "let's take The Wicker Man and turn it up to 11, no wait, let's turn it up to 15!"

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I weirdly enjoyed it but like others have mentioned it leaves several unanswered questions. Mine is how do they expect to get away with the murders? I mean we know Dani’s family is dead but what about the others? I’m presuming they all have friends and family that will start to look for them after they don’t return from Sweden and the festival. Won’t there eventually be inquiries?

I didn’t think of it as a dark comedy going in but there was some laughs thrown in there and definitely some WTF moments. The girl sitting next to me just kept repeating “oh my god” during the sex scene which made me giggle.

The one thing I know for sure is Florence Pugh is fantastic. That first scene with her on the phone with her boyfriend is such great acting. I hope to see her more and more in the future.   

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On 7/7/2019 at 7:33 PM, MrsR said:

The poor bear.  

The bear continues to be exploited 😆

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1 hour ago, krankydoodle said:

The bear continues to be exploited 😆

Thanks,

That is genius marketing. A24 rocks.

Average dude: What's up with that bear in a cage ad?

Friend: You got to see the movie.

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I saw this today. Like others, I don’t know if I liked it or not. It certainly was shot beautifully, but the story confused and frustrated me at times. 

The characters didn’t always behave like normal people. First of all, is it a thing to always be willing to use random hallucinogenic drugs even if you don’t know how they are going to affect you? And towards the end, Christian was willing to drink the ‘tea’ even after knowing that this society was strange, cult-like, and that there was a woman who fed him her pubic hair—and I think menstrual blood—in an effort to seduce him. 

On 7/6/2019 at 3:24 PM, Notwisconsin said:

Also, everyone seemed so very nice and that the two dead Americans (not including the guy who got laid), seemed to have deserved it.

I certainly think Mark and Chidi (Josh) made some missteps when it came to respecting someone else’s culture, but they deserved to die? This is the same culture that watched two senior citizens attempt suicide and bash one in the head with a mallet when he didn’t die right away.

And what about the couple from London? They wanted to leave and were killed. 

And that hut scene — oh, boy. Aster has a knack fo finding actors who don’t mind doing frontal nudity. 

On 7/5/2019 at 5:02 PM, calliope1975 said:

I did appreciate Dani finally being able to feel and express unfettered her rage and grief as someone who also constantly tries to suppress what I feel, but there are easier ways to break up with someone. 

I know, right? Why did the festival get to be her healing party? During the last scene, I kept thinking, “You weren’t supposed to be here. No one wanted you here.” Except for evil Swedish guy, that is. 

On 7/5/2019 at 5:02 PM, calliope1975 said:

I am confused about the timeline. Swedish guy said the festival was every 90 years, but there were so many pictures of different May queens. Is that something they do every year, and the rituals are every 90 years?

I think they do the May Queen festival every summer, but the 90 year festival is special in some way. 

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On 7/9/2019 at 10:20 PM, Gurkel said:
On 7/5/2019 at 5:02 PM, calliope1975 said:

I am confused about the timeline. Swedish guy said the festival was every 90 years, but there were so many pictures of different May queens. Is that something they do every year, and the rituals are every 90 years?

I think they do the May Queen festival every summer, but the 90 year festival is special in some way. 

Ari Aster is on Reddit doing an AMA and answered the 90yr question:

Quote

Q: I have a "lore" question for you in regards to how often this event occurs. My assumption is that this community gathers every year to do the normal May Fest activities since we see a bunch of different photos of the May Queens from the years. My question is what is different and unique for the specific event that happens every 90 years?

A: The last ritual of the film is what happens every 90 years. The rest is business as usual. Although it is suggested that there are more days of celebration to come. The movie doesn't span 9 days.

He also said he's working on an extended cut that has 30 additional minutes 😮

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A: The last ritual of the film is what happens every 90 years. The rest is business as usual. Although it is suggested that there are more days of celebration to come. The movie doesn't span 9 days.

Damn. What's left? Hard to top that last ritual. 

ETA: But Swedish guy (Pelle?) said both of his parents died in a fire. I'm assuming it was some kind of ritualistic sacrificial fire, so I don't know how that fits in with the time line. Maybe the extended cut will explain. 

Edited by Gurkel
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On 7/9/2019 at 7:20 PM, Gurkel said:
On 7/6/2019 at 12:24 PM, Notwisconsin said:

Also, everyone seemed so very nice and that the two dead Americans (not including the guy who got laid), seemed to have deserved it.

I certainly think Mark and Chidi (Josh) made some missteps when it came to respecting someone else’s culture, but they deserved to die?

The thing is though nothing they did mattered. Even if Mark hadn't peed on the sacred tree and Chidi hadn't sneaked into the temple and photographed the sacred text, they still would have been killed. Everyone could have been on their best behavior the whole time and nothing would have changed. 

I really wanted to like this movie. It just didn't work for me. There was no tension. It was obvious from the moment the group entered the commune that they all going to die. The cinematography and Florence Pugh were great though.

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I just saw it today, and I kind of agree with everyone else's posts. Random thoughts:

I felt similarly after watching Hereditary, in that most of the film felt genuinely tense and foreboding, but it didn't quite stick the ending - it sort of tilted over from frightening and disturbing into the ridiculous at the conclusion. Although I enjoy a slow-burn, it was a bit overlong and needed trimming.

I didn't know exactly what would go down (I assumed ritual sacrifice of some sort going in) but I immediately knew the poor British couple were effectively the movie's "red-shirts", along with the rude transgressors. I think the tension for me was whether the main couple was going to try and make a break for it or not. (Did anyone else think the  actor playing the non-committal boyfriend looked EXACTLY like a thinner fitter Seth Rogen? Was it just me?)

I agree with everyone else about the winking flowers - it added to the trippy hallucinogenic quality of the film. I wonder if the timing being all over the place was also meant to sort of scramble the audience's brains? It was supposed to be a Midsummer festival which one would think would be Summer Solstice which is late June. Yet they're crowning a May Queen. And a bunch of trees had pink blossoms on them, which even in Northern Sweden seems too late in the season. I dunno.

I felt saddest for the poor bear in the end.

One thing that has bothered me about both Hereditary and Midsommar is Ari Aster's seeming fixation on people with physical deformities. I thought Millie Shapiro (the little girl in Hereditary) was just unusual looking, but apparently she has an inherited condition that affects the cranium, and again in this movie, someone with a visible deformity was used mainly for horror purposes. That doesn't sit well with me.

I will say kudos to the production designers and costumers - they did a fantastic job of world-building with the folk-art paintings, runic symbols, embroidery and flowers. For such a freaky film, it was visually beautiful.

Can't say that I loved this film, but Aster is very good at using horror to explore grief - however I thought The Babadook dealt with that theme more effectively. This one was like an updated less goofy Nordic version of The Wicker Man.

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On 7/14/2019 at 1:54 AM, Cheezwiz said:

(Did anyone else think the  actor playing the non-committal boyfriend looked EXACTLY like a thinner fitter Seth Rogen? Was it just me?)

I'd never considered that, but you're right. He totally does. 

On 7/14/2019 at 1:54 AM, Cheezwiz said:

Can't say that I loved this film, but Aster is very good at using horror to explore grief -

I've also heard Aster say in an interview that this is a break up movie. How is condemning your boyfriend to death a break-up? Well, I guess she did literally break up with him, but it was more like conspiracy to commit murder. 

And I hate to keep harping on this, but Dani was not supposed to be there! She guilted Christian into inviting her. Maybe the other guys would've met their fates anyway, I'm pretty sure Pelle invited them to the festival just to be sacrificed. 

And will the families of Christian, Mark, and Chidi ever find out what happened to them? That saddens me. 

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3 hours ago, Gurkel said:

Maybe the other guys would've met their fates anyway, I'm pretty sure Pelle invited them to the festival just to be sacrificed. 

That's the impression I got - that the commune used younger people like Pelle to travel abroad as "procurers" to bring a pool of potential fresh genes to the community. Once they'd served their purpose, they were disposed of.

Dani wouldn't have anyone looking for her, so she could remain in the community without issue, but it doesn't answer the loose ends about the rest of the unfortunates - surely people would be searching for their loved ones at some point?

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3 hours ago, Gurkel said:

And I hate to keep harping on this, but Dani was not supposed to be there! She guilted Christian into inviting her. Maybe the other guys would've met their fates anyway, I'm pretty sure Pelle invited them to the festival just to be sacrificed. 

First of all, Yes, Christian, Mark, Josh, Connie, and Simon were absolutely invited just to be sacrificed. They were dead the moment they set foot onto the commune grounds. That's why the elders let them have so much access. They were going to kill them anyway so it didn't matter what they heard or saw. Regarding Dani, the way I see it, she was just a target of opportunity. While talking to one of the Elders, they mention how incest is an issue. Getting Dani to come along would be a way to introduce fresh blood into the community. There is a time skip in between the death of Dani's family and the party. Pelle could have spent that time manipulating Christian into inviting her to come along.

3 hours ago, Gurkel said:

And will the families of Christian, Mark, and Chidi ever find out what happened to them? That saddens me. 

I often wonder "How in the hell are they going to explain any of this?" after watching a lot of movies.

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21 hours ago, Gurkel said:

And I hate to keep harping on this, but Dani was not supposed to be there! She guilted Christian into inviting her.

Actually it was Pelle who ended up inviting her. It was his party so to speak.  Christian was a guest.

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I just saw this last night, and REALLY enjoyed it! I had been told it was very unlike Hereditary, but I actually found it to be extremely similar.

Spoilers for Hereditary:

Spoiler

Once you figure out that Pelle = the Ann Dowd charactacter, the rest falls into place: A woman powerfully grieving a death in the family caused by another family member, a relationship on the rocks due to the woman's all-consuming grief and the man's inadequacy as a support, and an outsider roping the remaining protagonists into the orbit of a subculture that practices ritual sacrifice, which then picks them off one by one to present as an offering.

But where Hereditary made you guess what the heck it was up to, Midsommar never tried to pull the rug out from under you, it just brought you along for the ride! I appreciated its more restrained storytelling, just as much as I appreciated Hereditary's balls-to-the-wall insanity.

On 7/5/2019 at 1:44 PM, krankydoodle said:

I was most bothered by one of the flowers in Dani's May Queen crown opening and closing like it was breathing or blinking.

I loved this detail! Because this little distortion of reality clearly showed that Dani was under the influence of whatever they had given her, and was not totally in her right mind. You'll notice, at the END of the movie, when Dani makes her choice and watches the sacrifice, that same flower appears perfectly normal. Dani is completely clearheaded when she sentences Christian to death.

On 7/6/2019 at 12:24 PM, Notwisconsin said:

I wonder when activists from the Wicca community will complain about how it shows them in a bad light?

On 7/7/2019 at 4:33 PM, MrsR said:

It was as if Aster said "let's take The Wicker Man and turn it up to 11, no wait, let's turn it up to 15!"

I actually think it had more in common with Hereditary than The Wicker Man, but in any case, these ideas are definitely connected. I only saw the original Wicker Man (not the Nick Cage version), and what struck me about it (as someone loosely affiliated with pagan/wiccan circles) was that it showed a normal, accurate portrayal of innocent, traditional pagan celebrations, and then ended with the big twist: Human sacrifice! Pagans are evil! This is a terrible twist, because it's the same message that's been predominant since the rise of Christianity, hardly surprising or subversive (and totally false). I was pretty disgusted with it, actually. But this film corrected some of that by anchoring the sacrifices and the horror stuff in a very specific subculture, practiced by a small cult-like group, with some unique traditions AND some traditions informed by Paganism in general (which served more like a veneer of legitimacy than the root of the cruelty), so that the villains were the cult, and not an entire widespread religion.

That said, I did wonder about the accuracy of the Pagan celebrations for Midsummer. It seems this festival combined some traditions of Beltane (May 1st), like the May Pole dance, celebrations of fertility/virility, and crowning of a May Queen, with traditions of Litha (Midsummer, June 21st), like the bonfires honoring the sun at its strongest time of year, celebrating the last phase of the growing season before the harvest, etc. I don't know if it's common practice in some communities to combine the two into one big festival, but I could roll with it.

On 7/15/2019 at 1:03 PM, Gurkel said:

I've also heard Aster say in an interview that this is a break up movie. How is condemning your boyfriend to death a break-up? Well, I guess she did literally break up with him, but it was more like conspiracy to commit murder. 

I feel like this could easily be reduced to a break-up movie. And it's unfortunate he said that, because I think it plants a seed of simplicity in the audience's mind. Yes, it is a break-up movie, when you consider how wholly inadequate Christian is for Dani, and how much of the movie she spent rationalizing those inadequacies, the end is inevitable, but I think the big idea of the film is the question that Pelle asked her: "Does he feel like home to you?" I saw this film as being about a woman who needed a home, finding one. "Breaking up" with Christian and selecting him for sacrifice was not just a rejection of him, it was a rejection of the whole outside world. She had chosen the community, who understood what she needed, gave her power, and experienced her pain along with her. They were now her home.

However...

On 7/15/2019 at 1:03 PM, Gurkel said:

And will the families of Christian, Mark, and Chidi ever find out what happened to them? That saddens me.

The question of how these disappearances will be explained is a tricky one. No one knew EXACTLY where in Sweden they were going, and they are all adults who could have traveled anywhere from their intended destination without telling anyone. Presumably Pelle (and they guy who invited the London couple) still have their belongings, including phones, credit cards, and passports, and could maybe make it look like they were last seen elsewhere, or that they had decided to stay permanently, like I imagine Dani will be doing. But there's also the question of, what would have happened if Dani had NOT chosen Christian for sacrifice? Or if she had not been May Queen at all? (It didn't look like they rigged the dance for her.) Would she and Christian really have been allowed to leave at the end of the festival, after everything they'd seen, or were they dead anyway, and the choice was meaningless? I don't imagine it bears too much consideration, or perhaps we're meant to believe that "fate" (or "nature") arranged things exactly the way they needed to be. In any case, I can overlook a lingering question when the rest of the film was so well-structured.

Final thought: I'm willing to bet that for everyone on set that day, that was the STRANGEST sex scene any of them had ever filmed!

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3 hours ago, Slovenly Muse said:

I had been told it was very unlike Hereditary, but I actually found it to be extremely similar.

I was surprised at how closely it followed the template laid out by Hereditary - almost note for note, despite the very different subject matter. Hereditary was certainly more batshit and had some shocker twists I DID NOT SEE COMING whereas Midsommar was more muted. I grew up watching bad 70's TV movies of the week about regular folk bumbling into cults & witchcraft, so in some ways Midsommar felt more predictable to me.  But man, Aster is good at building slow dread and discomfort - I felt similarly squirmy and cringey during both films. I spent a lot of time peeking through my fingers.

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I must say, I'm glad I watched the series Vikings before this, as it prepared me for a lot of what I saw.  I would call this an update of the original Wickerman, but gross.  

Seriously,

Spoiler

why did they have to show us those people's heads so many times?  We get it, movie.  Also it made me wonder: if the impact did that to their (at least the woman's) heads, why were their bodies still relatively intact?

Some have complained that we didn't need the opening section with Dani's family for the movie to work, but I disagree.  We needed it to (1) understand the level of pain she is dealing with, (2) understand why she would be so willing to turn on Christian in the end, and (3) empathize with her at the outset.  Without the opening section, she can more easily be dismissed as the "moody, kooky girlfriend."  Instead we're right there with her and understand the enormity of what she's been dealing with, which in turn makes us that much less sympathetic toward Christian. 

ETA: Consequently, I wonder what happened to that friend she spoke to on the phone in the beginning.  I kept thinking: "Listen to your friend; she is so spot on."  Then poof! we never heard from her again.

Edited by Brn2bwild
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On 7/13/2019 at 9:48 PM, ZoqFotPik said:

The thing is though nothing they did mattered. Even if Mark hadn't peed on the sacred tree and Chidi hadn't sneaked into the temple and photographed the sacred text, they still would have been killed.

Yeah, it was basically like in a crappy slasher movie where we spend half the movie establishing that all the teens are a bunch of hedonistic drug doing sex having assholes, and the second half killing them off. They would die no matter what, if they were total dickheads or on vacation to cure cancer in orphans and puppies, so the writers have them act in ways that they feel the audience would find distasteful so that the audience wont feel sad when they die and they can focus on the horror and gore and not that people have been senselessly murdered. 

I think I wanted to like this movie more than I actually did. The acting was really solid, it was shot beautifully, and the details of the world building with this cult and their history, rituals, runes, and all of that was really complex and well done, but the story itself didn't really work for me. Maybe because it was gory even for me (I mean...the face...), maybe because I didn't think the characters and the theme weren't as well drawn out as I would have liked, but it just didn't work for me super well. Maybe because the only real twist was Dani leaving Christian to die (which I saw coming pretty quickly, honestly) so I while I was enjoying the creepy set pieces and atmosphere, I was just waiting for everyone to die in different, creepy ways. I've seen Vikings, so I was just wondering when the Blood Eagle was going to show up. 

I did think that Dani was an interesting character, and her suppression of her terrible grief and rage was really interesting and well done, and her break down into the cult was really creepy, but most of the other characters ere just kind of there to die.

Edited by tennisgurl
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16 hours ago, topanga said:

I don’t think the restored scenes add much to the story. 

I wasn't convinced when I first heard about the longer cut, but the promise of more screen time for William Jackson Harper and scenes of bickering academics changed my mind. I'm especially looking forward to an extended version of the scene where Christian reveals his thesis. I love that Josh hits back at him with “You didn’t even know how to use JSTOR!" 😆

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