dani phosgene’s review published on Letterboxd:
Due to mental health issues I haven’t written anything in almost three months but as soon I watch the newest Ari Aster movie I knew that I just have to write something on this masterpiece of a movie that resonated with me like not a lot of movies do. One of the reasons I had (and in fact still have) mental issues at the moment is because I put someone’s needs and feelings before mine just like Dani does in Midsommar, both me and her did that for someone who first didn’t deserve it in the slightest and second didn’t care even to treat us like fragile living human beings that need special handling like any human being needs. So I can’t even begin to describe how painful it is to watch Midsommar and the way Dani treats herself and how much she reminds me of myself.
Portrayed by Florence Pugh, Dani is definitely one of my favorite characters that has ever been put on the screen. Florence’s face just says it all, from the first scene when she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown as her bipolar sister sends very disturbing text to her to the final shot of the movie, the way she portrays agony and mourning makes her one of the most talented actresses working today. Everything Dani feels you, the viewer feel in your gut.
As for the things that Ari Aster accomplished in Midsommar… Well, I’m just happy that he never went to see a therapist after the breakup that inspired him to write and direct this movie. This breakup movie is fucked-up, sad, depressing, extremely hard to watch if you know what it’s like to be Dani in that situation and environment. And of course, as you can guess it’s a slow-burning thriller that leads to a cathartic finale that leaves you utterly speechless each time. It would be an understatement to call the last 40 minutes of the movie (the theatrical cut) raw or primal. The third act is a true bacchanalia that pushes all the possible boundaries and spits on the particularly impressionable audience with all the extreme pagan rituals the people of Hårga perform that include harmless dances but also public intercourses and especially sadistic and ruthless torture of those who disobeyed the laws of the commune. What seems like a sunny and hospitable place in Sweden compared to the snowy and cold landscapes of the US that we’ve been shown in the beginning of the movie turns for literal hell for some and a place where you can find your family for others. So, long story short – Ari Aster is back to give all of us PTSD.
When Dani calls her boyfriend and wants him to comfort her or when she sneaks into a bathroom on a plane to weep and let all of her pain out because she just can’t live like this anymore and then comes back to her ”significant” other like nothing happened reminds me so much of myself that it is a little bit scary but also it is comforting. Comforting because Ari Aster made me feel less alone in all of my insecurities and anxieties, and anyone who has ever felt anxious, depressed or just any kind of sick knows how much it is important to know that you are not alone, there’s a lot of people that suffers from the same pain you do. And it’s simply painful to watch Dani putting herself down and putting her needs and feeling on the second place while needs and feelings of people who don’t deserve shit in this life are on the first place, she feels guilt for the things other people should be guilty, but in the end I felt truly cathartic as Dani is before everything, she won’t apologize for things no one should apologize, there won’t be self-doubt in her life, she’s finally found her family. One of the main topics of the movie is womanhood and unity with mother nature. From the moments when Dani trips on shrooms and sees how grass grows out of her hands to the moment when all the women of Hårga moan and cry with Dani when finds out [redacted] as if she was giving birth and these women were nurses, this kind of support literally screams that her pain is also their pain and her rage is also theirs. The support she got in Hårga helped her to finally overcome depression, feeling of guilt and self-doubt.
Midsommar is a mind-blowing depiction of depression and grief, and only the person who’s actually experienced these problems could’ve written and direct such a masterpiece of a movie and a masterclass on foreshadowing just like Hereditary but much much better even though I consider Ari Aster’s debut as one of the strongest and scariest horror movies of the century. At this point I don’t even care if I exaggerate but this movie is literally one of the most unique of all-time and every movie that will be released later will have to compete with Midsommar. And the last but not the least Ari Aster managed to hypnotize me for all the 147 minutes of runtime in the time after my heart was broken when I couldn’t write or even watch movies which were my main escape plans before, and even now, after 3 months, Midsommar is the only movie that I can watch.