Midsommar ★★★★½

In an attempt to avoid annoying moviegoers, I planned on waiting for the home release of 'Midsommar'. I've grown tired of the wine smuggling, texting, chattering chair renters and as a result I've kept away from the cinema for the past month. I could write paragraphs about my awful experiences at numerous theatrical locations. For my own sanity, I've reluctantly scaled back as it's a recurring problem that's getting progressively worse. Nonetheless, I'm not one to refuse a night out with friends which gave me the perfect excuse to finally catch Ari Aster's latest. 

In the space of thirteen months, Aster has crafted a viscerally, gruelling, grandiose masterwork that emphasises the importance of artistic integrity. Comparisons to Robin Hardy's 1973 classic, 'The Wicker Man' (my second favourite horror film) will naturally ensue. Despite certain similarities, Aster's film is not as straightforward. By reworking the general concept into an unorthodox "breakup movie" he leaves a lot of the thematics open to interpretation. 

Personally, I think the description of his own material has been deliberately simplified. By drawing from his own experience the themes of belonging, superficiality & codependency ring uncomfortably true. If 'Hereditary' was about responding to your own grief, 'Midsommar' is more concerned with how others respond in turn.

Similarly to Toni Collette, Florence Pugh delivers a powerhouse performance solidifying herself as one of this generations finest talents. Don't be deceived by the marketing campaign. This isn't some generic meat grinder were supporting players are relegated to pawn status. Every character has their own personality and due to the naturalistic dialogue the trajectory feels scarcely believable.

With the aid of cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski, Aster recognises that in perpetual daylight we have no choice but to confront reality. Utilising high levels of exposure the film switches from nightmarish to dreamy with composer, Bobby Krlic's (The Haxan Cloak) use of harps and synths enhancing the effect.

Due to the motif, I would hesitate to call 'Midsommar' an outright horror film. Attempting to categorise it feels like a disservice. Ari Aster puts himself on full display with a harrowing tale of reflection. This is the work of a fearless filmmaker who will continue to push the boundaries of cinematic language for the foreseeable future. 

Bring on the three hour NC-17 cut!

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