Author Topic: Midsommar  (Read 206 times)

FLYmeatwad

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Midsommar
« on: July 03, 2019, 09:58:45 PM »
Can I reserve a space? Still working a lot of it out, but was struck by how anti-horror it seemed to be, even compared to Hereditary, which was much more about dread than what modern horror typically is, but obviously liked a lot of what was going on. I believe what I'm most grappling with is how much we take this to be Dani's 'letting go' as opposed to her fully running away from grief, horrors of the modern world, etc.

Bondo

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2019, 08:22:25 PM »
Wonder how big the "Hated Hereditary, Loved Midsommer" crowd will be. Looking back at my review of Hereditary, my deep hatred did not have a lot of specific impetus. There was a sense that I demanded a point to the horror, elsewise it evokes the dread T.P. label. But though Midsommer very much feels a film from the same director: the assertive visual style, the generally quiet dread of the uncanny, the role of the pagan mystery, in this one the thematic function of the horror dug into me and didn't let go, even if sometimes things got a bit unwieldy.

For me the thing that was most potent was taking Dani's family story, established early, with her sister killing her parents and committing suicide, leaving her without family, and laying it against this weird commune that on multiple occasions adopts a group empathy (of sorts) in taking on as a group the pain (physical or emotional) of members of the group. This seems to be speaking to the pain experienced by those of a family (and friend group) when they experience loss. The pain of depression (or bi-polar) and suicide reverberates beyond. Similarly it may comment on the often limited nature of modern Western community in comparison to this rich society that subjugates the individual to the group (in a very uncomfortable way).

Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor are both previous Filmspot-nominees (IIRC, at least on my ballot), but Pugh definitely shines stronger here. Somewhat the fault of the character, Reynor is just a bit too icy here. I had a particular problem reading his character's state as Dani gets further enmeshed in the community.

In the broader sense, this film is in the tradition of The Wicker Man or Apostle, with a touch of Cabin In The Woods. Those are all very well regarded by me, so I guess I shouldn't have been apprehensive (because of Hereditary).

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 11:30:56 AM »
I imagine I should watch Wicker Man at some point.

That's a good point about the communal experience, especially the watch that the pain manifests physically in those outpouring scenes, and lines up with Dani's isolation in her world. What was interesting to me was that the film really does put her on an island at the beginning. Presumably Reynor is just constantly guilting himself in to staying with her , or incapable of making a decision (which is consistent throughout the film, I believe, but didn't track it), as that potential breakup at the beginning and courtesy invite to the trip would have really left her alone (while also robbing the audience of at least one penis scene), but either way, aside from him she's pretty much shown on her own. I figure she has other friends, she is talking with someone else on the phone when she gets the suicide news, but we don't get much of a chance to see her social circle in school or anything, she's just tethered to Reynor and his group. Think what I'm driving at is that it makes sense she'd be the most drawn to this group especially because, at this point, she has nothing else, besides a boyfriend who kind of is just with her out of some sense of obligation to himself, so it would be easy to just disappear.

While watching I was also wondering just how much Dani was picked by the community. Not sure I'd say the whole becoming the May Queen thing was staged, but there are parts where it seems like the elders are selecting her as well, though I'd likely need to see it again to be sure.

Will

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2019, 08:18:27 PM »
Team "Liked Hereditary, Hated Midsommar". Ugh. This may be the worst summer for movies in my lifetime.

Bondo

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2019, 08:50:25 PM »
So one thing that the Director's Cut actually made less clear for me is what portion of the ceremony we see is essentially annual and what aspects are special to the every 90 years version.

Spoiler cover of the Director's Cut material:
An additional scene makes clear that the ritual death of elders occurs whenever someone hits 72, which certainly was hinted at by Pelle in the original cut, but for some reason I thought it was special to the 90-year version.

Pelle bonds with Dani by mentioning his parents died in a fire when he was a child. It occurs to me now that the fire they died in may have been the ritualistic one that ends the film. But obviously Pelle wasn't a child 90 years previous, so that suggests that portion of the ceremony is annual as well.

Just from an institutional rather than moral perspective, the sacrifice of all people when they turn 72 is fine. But if they are sacrificing 2-3 non-elders every year with perhaps one external recruit, it seems hard to maintain the population, but I guess maybe they do just manage enough births each year to achieve stability.

1SO

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 09:26:06 PM »
Bondo, I had that same question. Seems like at least two rituals would have to be done almost every year, one for death and one for repopulation without incest. That means tourists are there annually even though there usually isn't so much activity going on.
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: Midsommar
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2019, 07:11:08 PM »
Well, they could be repopulating with others from the country, just not the same community. The cliff jumping, presumably, is something that happens regularly too, since they say everyone is done at 72 or whatever. Went to the DC last night, which I think was definitely better than an already strong base. 'The Scene' is pretty in your face, but I think worked, and adds to Dani's first nightmare, along with the conversation about the other boyfriend leaving the next day. The small changes contributed to a much more cohesive whole, and I'm wondering if it creeps up on my year end list. Visually this thing is just on a completely different level.

Also, guess it clicked last night on the rewatch about the fire as well, like Bondo mentions. I'm wondering if it's just the Great Feast aspect that's part of the 90 year thing, maybe the lake play. It is a little muddy.

Definitely seeing the negatives of Christian way more clear, though idk if that's just it being a rewatch or really how much the new stuff adds. Regardless, still a bit dicey by the end, as his test of faith does seem to be him trying to avoid the drink and stay in himself, but ultimately he does look at the girl and decide to take it likely knowing full well what could happen, so alright.