Midsommar ★★½

I've had a while to process my thoughts on this one, and I've finally come to the conclusion that it just. isn't. it. Now, I've made it no secret that I love Hereditary, and I pretty much consider it one of the best horror films of the decade. Here, Aster seems to try to replicate what made that film great: the portrait of grief, the in-your-face technical rigor, the artificial art direction. But it soon becomes clear that something is very, very wrong, and this is a film distinctly lacking structure, purpose, and center.

From the outset, we find a central character dealing with both a horrible tragedy and an emotionally abusive relationship. The story's main festival ostensibly serves as one big act of catharsis for her. But none of the issues raised are engaged with in any remotely meaningful way, and it's all wasted on the basic horror structure (one person dies, then another, then another...). It's actually really sad because there are so many great visual ideas, but none are able to produce the dramatic fuel necessary to propel this. And thematically, it’s shallow - this is a movie less about overcoming trauma than it is about tripping balls.

Things I did like: the gorgeous, sun-drenched locale; a magnificent performance by Florence Pugh.