In a surprising marketing strategy, A24 is offering free couples therapy if you watch ‘Midsommar’ with your significant other. It does seem a bit radical until you actually watch the movie, realise that it is one of the best breakup movies of all time and accept the need for therapy. The film written and directed by Ari Aster of ‘Hereditary’ fame follows Dani (played by Florence Pugh), her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his friends as they visit Sweden. What seemed like a mid-summer festival in a friend’s hometown spirals out of control at the hands of a pagan cult.
Anyone who has watched ‘Hereditary’ knows that Ari sucks you right into the movie and then cuts the scene right in the middle, inducing curiosity and anxiety at the same time. Midsommar does this and a lot more. This is to be expected when his inspiration for the movie was a bad break up and Ingmar Bergman, and the movie is filled with psychedelic drugs. Ari, refuting the claims that called the film an adult version of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and a horror adjacent, called it Dani’s fairy tale.
The film deals with a sense of loss and the grief that comes with it. Dani loses her family in the very beginning of the film and that forms the central theme guiding all of Dani’s action and relationship dynamics. Throughout the film, we notice a progressively widening chasm between Dani and Christian. As Dani feels more lonely with each passing scene, she yearns for a family and a sense of belonging. And as the audience, we root for Dani in her pursuit of finding a home and being held gently.
The film, unlike any other horror contemporaries, is shot completely in an outdoor sunny environment to an extent that some scenes are overexposed. Metaphorically, it is about facing and accepting your grief and fear instead of hiding from it. It is about turning your heartbreak into happiness. With Oscar-worthy production design and an engaging score, the film leaves you with an eerie feeling.
My favourite part of the film remains the world-building of the Harda community. The paganic rituals, stories and ancestry were described in detail. From aesthetic head bashing to ritualistic sacrifices, Ari did it all. The most remarkable aspect of the community remains their singing and wailing, which is constant throughout the film and still you never get used to it.
For all the fans of cult and pagan rituals, and in a toxic relationship, Midsommar is a must-watch.
Midsommar is a film of nightmares drenched in sunlight.