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and people claim white people don’t have CULTURE…
Ari Aster calls this a breakup movie and I can see why. It’s not just the horror of the cult, there’s the whole horror of not being able to trust your partner or friends within the cult.
The movie is long but very suspenseful and original.
There's a lot to unpack in Ari Aster's Midsommar, but let me start with its central metaphor. Florence Pugh's character loses her family in the prologue, and in visiting a Swedish friend's commune, is embraced in a way her own "support group" cannot approach. The pagan festival, extreme though it is, offers catharsis, unconditional empathy, apparently magical understanding, and a shedding of a "false family" that is proving toxic to her. In the ashes of the past, she will be reborn. Flowers blooming is a major motif. It's a long film, but it was so absorbing, it didn't feel like it. The boys who begrudgingly drag Pugh on this trip are all anthropology students, so it's perhaps natural that so much of it unfolds as a kind of documentary on this specific cult's rituals and traditions. My friend Isabel wondered if the character types were meant to mirror tourist attitudes - one an "ugly American" who pisses on what's sacred, another seeing cultures as something to be studied rather than experienced, a third traveling so he can bed girls from different countries - and I like that. It leaves Pugh as the traveler who is changed by her experience, not a "tourist". The film is beautiful to look at too, and in the way it presented mysticism reminded me of Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain - the colors, the angles, the symmetry. Disturbing more than it is scary, Midsommar is also plenty funny, and not just in a nervous laughter kind of way. The village's odd practices create a pleasant fish out of water scenario for both the characters and the audience, even after there's been some gory violence (there's not a lot of it, but a couple people did walk out when it started, so it's gruesome). This is the second Florence Pugh movie to come out this year, and I have to end by saying I'm quite taken with her. Would seek out more of her performances based on the last two.
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