Midsommar ★★★★

This is interesting because in the first 15 minutes Ari Aster basically does Hereditary again, at least in terms of showing a horrible, gruelling portrait of grief, but it allows for the rest to feel much brighter. Brighter literally because this is the only time I can recall where I could actually see the floor below my theatre seat, but also funnier, and occasionally even hopeful. For that reason, despite an eerily similar underlying skin-crawling obsession with pagan rituals, this one is resonating with me much stronger than Aster's previous effort. The characters (in their good and bad-natured motivations alike) feel like tangible, interesting people, and Aster has a blast playing to, exhausting, and, yes, eventually punishing their worst tendencies. They're grad students, too, so I automatically have a bias to enjoy it given my complicated relationship with academia. Speaking of relationships, and I'm sure this was entirely intentional, I now never want to be in one again. Thanks, Ari.

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