Midsommar ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Liked this even more on a rewatch. If anything, Midsommar's reception makes the movie all the more impressive to me. I've seen both praise and vicious critique of Ari Aster for making a movie about self-actualization and cutting toxic people out of your life and dysfunctional relationships. And while Midsommar is technically about those things to an extent, I also think they're red-herrings. First and foremost, Midsommar is a movie about cults. Specifically, it's a movie about how cults appeal to and exploit vulnerable people by providing the social supports and comforts which are otherwise absent. That in and of itself is terrifying, but that Aster also deceives the audience into focusing on the dysfunction of a relationship rather than brainwashing cults is all the more haunting.

Granted, the character drama between Christian and Dani is excellent, in large part because as painful as that drama is, it's also so grounded and ordinary. Even when things escalate to Christian allowing himself to be involved in a fucked up sex ritual it's still rooted in the same character faults that define his relationship with Dani. It also helps that the performances are excellent. This is definitely Florence Pugh's movie, but Jack Reynor deserves a lot of credit for playing an asshole boyfriend with such nuance. Aster also demonstrates all the craft and skill he showed in Hereditary. I might like that movie more than Midsommar, but I think his sophomore movie is ultimately the more challenging and bold one.

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