James Wade’s review published on Letterboxd:
About ten minutes into this new Ari Aster movie I found myself thinking, why the hell did I sign up for another one of these? The beginning of this movie is chilling and awful and puts a deep pit in my stomach that didn't leave for the rest of the runtime.
That hard pit of grief is what Florence Pugh carries with her through the film. What's worse is that neither her boyfriend nor his friends (with the exception of one) have any real desire to help her. She is truly on her own, staring into the abyss of her pain during this vibrant festival, and there is a cathartic thrill in watching what happens to some of her shitty friends.
The most disconcerting thing about this community is not simply that there are frightening, violent rituals at the centre of their culture. The film makes the case that the occupants of this village are more attuned to both the tragedies and joys of life than any of the visitors. The scene where Florence Pugh cries in emotional agony while surrounded by women determined to share her pain with her is, frankly, a compelling argument for this way of life. Especially if it's between this and your shitty boyfriend.
The movie is both too long and too short, which is, I suspect why Ari Aster will be releasing a director's cut of the movie. The scenes in the middle days of the festival don't all seem that important, but could with a little more time spent in them. At the moment though, they feel extra.
Anyways, a scary movie about grief and breakups and embracing your inner May Queen, in all her righteous sadness.