Midsommar ★★★★

Florence Pugh is absolutely terrific and Ari Aster sure knows how to move a camera. Unfortunately, an underwritten story and weak character development hinder the film from being anything more than a gorgeous, undulating portrait of a plot we’re familiar with. The hallucinatory aspects of the film aren’t exaggerated enough to make the thinly-stretched story more than mildly interesting, and there’s not enough meat on the bone to support the oft-formal style. There could’ve been an interesting exploration of grief that’s touched on heavily in the beginning and only dabbled in later on. The first 10-15 minutes were truly captivating in this regard, elevated heavily by Pugh. Aside from Dani, the characters felt kind of cold, making it hard to care for a lot of them. All this being said, the PD is absolutely gorgeous, the lighting and color palette are gorgeous, and the hallucinatory imagery is slight but gorgeously-rendered. I do also admire Aster’s commitment to finding the overlap of beauty and outright disgust in the horror genre, as it strikes a distinctly discomforting chord that repulses and mesmerizes. This is a movie that’s easier for me to talk critically of than praise and yet it still had a strangely enthralling effect on me. I may be disappointed by the end result, especially after the high bar set by Hereditary, but there is still enough of a vision and direction here to engage me. Here’s hoping Aster casts Will Poulter and gives him some more douchey one-liners in his next film—what a crazy kid.