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Midsommar

Jeremy Blackman · 64 · 2743

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jviness02

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Reply #45 on: July 29, 2019, 01:36:55 AM
(Some spoilers)

I guess agree to disagree on whether or not it’s believable that, aside from British couple, no one tried to leave (sidenote:  why did the cult kill them one at a time with such a terrible lie?).

But for me even if I buy that they have reasons to stay, it still makes for a less interesting movie. I very much enjoyed individual scenes and the craft behind the film, but found it to be relatively tensionless after a certain point.

Still looking forward to whatever Ari does next.

I agree. After a pretty incredible opening, this film lost me when they just accepted the first death ritual. I’m normally one to defend against “the characters didn’t react how I would, therefore it’s bad”, but I just really could not wrap my head around any sane person being  like “oh different culture” and just sticking around. I feel like human death is the one thing that crosses cultural differences.

Not a bad movie, but I don’t get the hype.  I prefer his first film.


WorldForgot

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Reply #46 on: July 29, 2019, 12:59:54 PM
Well even if we're only considering our protagonist --
Spoiler: ShowHide
That initial death ritual allows Dani to process her loss on terms that are completely alien and irrelevant to whatever framing her mind would want death to fit into -- just as her sister's experience was alien to those around her -- just as her own grief seemed to Christian.

In those flashing images on the rock, Dani's sister is posthumously granted the same agency as those within the festivities. 



polkablues

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Reply #47 on: July 29, 2019, 08:31:55 PM
SPOILIES: ShowHide
You nailed it. It's another in the long list of ways that the community manipulates Dani. Unlike Christian, who is woefully unable to help her process what she's going through, the community presents her with this re-contextualization of death. As jarring and violent as it was, it allows her shattered mind something to grasp onto; the kernel of the idea of "What if I'm wrong about what death means and they're right?" It's using her confusion and her fragile state of mind to slip in an alternate frame of reality, one that works implicitly to drive a wedge between her and Christian by suggesting that they can help her in a way that he can't.

This gets really explicit in the scene where Pelle comforts her in the main cabin. His continued insistence of "I lost my parents, too. I know how you feel." He (and by proxy, the community as a whole) is telling her "We're the only ones who understand what you're going through." The (mostly) unspoken converse, of course, being that her boyfriend doesn't and can't. It's pickup artist shit; they're finding her weaknesses and exploiting them by whatever means necessary. All toward that ultimate goal of positioning her to have to choose between Christian and the community, and her picking the community.
That's some catch, that Catch-22.


Tictacbk

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Reply #48 on: August 02, 2019, 04:45:10 AM
Like I said, I guess we’re just in personal preference territory. Whether or not any of the character’s reactions are justified, just don’t think it makes for a more interesting film this way.  What can I say, I like tension in my two and a half hour horror films.


Drenk

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Reply #49 on: August 07, 2019, 05:55:29 PM
Still thinking about this movie and want to see it again. It's just so much fun! Definitely my favorite film of the year so far. I think Midsommar is going to have a lot of durability, because it actually doesn't rely on horror. It's driven by characters and character relationships, and a lot of playful themes, and a whole lot of aesthetic and sonic beauty.


SEVERE SPOILERS

Letting this movie sink in is an interesting process—specifically, coming to terms with this being a happy tale with a happy ending. If we just skip over literal interpretations and view this as a fable, as we're clearly meant to, Midsommar is almost unambiguously happy. Dani purges herself of toxic people one by one. Almost more importantly, she's embraced by family and overwhelmed with empathy. It doesn't matter that the expression of empathy is over-the-top and ceremonial. It's so forceful that it becomes real. Which I suppose can be the point of ceremony.

You would expect the film to devolve into total chaos and horror, revealing the cult as wildly bloodthirsty and evil, but that is very intentionally not the case. There's not even a charismatic cult leader you can point to who's enforcing things. Instead, you feel like each event is a force of nature, coming about through the sheer power of ancient tradition. That's how the sex ceremony plays out. Dani discovers Christian's betrayal and runs, but the cult does not try to persuade her that it's right. Instead, they instantly surround her to accept and echo her feelings of grief—an ultimate form of validation.

Also did not expect Midsommar to be a referendum on masculinity and American culture, but it certainly is. Christian (the boyfriend) is the most fascinating one to me. He is the embodiment of toxic laziness and cowardice. He always takes the path of least resistance, to the detriment of himself and those around him. Christian doesn't break up with Dani, because it's easier not to. Christian doesn't tell her any kind of truth about his feelings or even his summer plans because it's easier not to. He procrastinates on his thesis and then leeches off someone else's idea (who is himself arguably a leech) because it's just easier that way. He goes along with the sex ceremony because it's easier not to resist—even his worst betrayal is done passively. And finally, I love how he's literally paralyzed in the end, having achieved his final form of supreme inaction, encased in a symbol of masculinity. Even while burning alive, he's unable to express his feelings.

Basically every word of this. I loved how the horror was rapidly submerged by a twisted sense of awe—but, in a way, it was also about letting the horror out.

I especially like how you describe Christian. The movie doesn't want the viewer to despise him and I don't think he's pure caricature (something I thought would be the case). He ends up at a logical place, indeed.
I'm so many people.


jenkins

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Reply #50 on: August 07, 2019, 06:00:30 PM
yeah i think i like jb's description of the movie better than the movie tbh


Gold Trumpet

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Reply #51 on: August 07, 2019, 09:02:11 PM
It's a wonderful film. Ari Aster helped to revive one of the blandest movie genres. I don't understand half the criticisms.


Drenk

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Reply #52 on: August 08, 2019, 09:26:02 AM
SPOILERS

Not to see depression everywhere, but Christian isn't the only one responsible of the toxicity of the relationship, and his extreme passivity, as described by JB, can be a symptom of his form of depression (although he's very severe against Dani's sister state in the beginning, but depressed people also exploit their family and friends as if all their shitinnes was inherently the fault of the disease, so bitching about this doesn't necessarily means that he's oblivious).
Nothing points that Dani loves him in the movie. She gives him excuses because she is scared to lose him, which doesn't always equal to love. They were feeding toxic fumes to each other...
At the end, she doesn't only get rid of a toxic person, there is a perverse pleasure in total destruction. Let's totally start anew and destroy everything that would remind her of her past, a past that died with the end of her family. A really cathartic experience. There is no morality at play. The only thing in consideration is what feels good.
I'm so many people.


WorldForgot

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Reply #53 on: August 19, 2019, 12:29:00 PM
write-up of Aster's 171 minute director's cut

Spoiler: ShowHide
 
Quote
The first chunk of added material in the director’s cut speaks to the former kind. In the theatrical version, we don’t learn that Dani is coming on the trip to Sweden until Christian springs the news on his unsuspecting friends. Now, a lengthy scene of dialogue has been added in Dani’s living room just before the part where Dani swings by the boys’ apartment. Christian, desperate to ease his tension with Dani, accidentally invites her to come on the trip, and then plays it off as though it had been his plan all along; he claims it was going to be a romantic gesture, and that Dani just ruined her own surprise.
[...]
Watching the director’s cut, it eventually becomes clear that several of the scenes Aster edited back in form an interconnected subplot of sorts; when he deleted one of them from the theatrical version, he had to delete them all. The first evidence of this occurs after the ättestupa, as Christian is invited to help decorate a fir tree with various pagan ornaments. Maja (Isabelle Grill), his pre-selected mate, is also there, but she’s pretty shy.

Initially, this restored moment seems to be about laying a firmer groundwork for the film’s climax, but things pivot in an ominous new direction when the same imagery resurfaces in this cut’s most significant new sequence: A night-time(!) drowning ritual on the shores of a nearby river. The Hårga gather by the water, and perform a lighthearted (if characteristically morbid) skit about making an offering to the goddess; in this case, the offering is a “brave” young boy named Bror with a very unenthusiastic mother.

Bror is dressed in the same tinselly chainmail that Christian helped out on the tree, and then prepared to be sacrificed into the water; they even force him to hold a giant stone for good measure. But the ceremony is halted at the last moment, as Bron’s bravery is deemed a sufficient gift to the goddess. Everyone laughs. Good times. No child murder tonight. But if you look closely at what Connie (Ellora Torchia) is wearing at the end of her movie when her body is wheeled into the funeral pyre, the mystery of her death can now be solved: She was drowned in Bror’s place.

Meanwhile, Dani pulls Christian aside to ask him — and I’m paraphrasing here — “what the actual fuck?!” Whereas the theatrical cut painted Dani as being more in tune with the Hårga practices, this scene reminds us that, for all of her trauma, she’s often the most grounded character in the film. She’s thoroughly creeped out by the midsummer festivities (she calls them “backwards”), and begs Christian to leave with her. But Christian — stupid, oafish Christian, who was born to be the victim of a horror movie — wants to stay; he’s finally found a work subject he’s excited about, and doesn’t need Dani anymore.


Drenk

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Reply #54 on: August 19, 2019, 12:36:00 PM
All that seems like good cuts to make? I love the movie, but I am not interested in this at all.
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polkablues

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Reply #55 on: August 19, 2019, 06:34:44 PM
I can at least see a case being made for the inclusion of the last scene mentioned in WorldForgot's excerpt, but even that might be pushing it into the realm of over-explaining. Everything else listed is just flat-out unnecessary.
That's some catch, that Catch-22.


Ravi

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Reply #56 on: August 27, 2019, 02:07:24 PM
https://www.slashfilm.com/midsommar-directors-cut/?fbclid=IwAR1TPyyS39Cl5SBkfSUBm-kDQ0xgMMKmPsD032k6VPCwxBglplLGj_sv8sY

‘Midsommar’ Director’s Cut Opening in Select Theaters This Weekend
Posted on Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 by Chris Evangelista

If you’re in the mood for even more Midsommar, you’re in luck. The Midsommar director’s cut will be opening in select theaters nationwide this weekend. This cut features new and extended scenes and brings the total runtime to 171 minutes. So break out your flower crowns, stir up some special herbal tea, and get ready to dance your ass around the maypole all over again.

Midsommar is one of the year’s best films – and now there’s even more of it to go around. Ari Aster‘s brightly lit, surprisingly funny folk horror film was already long in its theatrical form, clocking-in at 147 minutes. But Aster’s preferred cut of the film was even longer – 171 minutes, to be precise. This director’s cut screened recently in NYC, and it was presumed it would be included on the upcoming home video release. But it isn’t – the director’s cut doesn’t appear on either the digital release or the Blu-ray, for reasons unknown (my guess: a double-dip is in our future).

But fret not – you’ll (probably) still be able to see the director’s cut for yourself. Because A24 is rolling it out in select theaters this weekend. You can get tickets here.

When our own Ben Pearson asked Aster about his director’s cut, the filmmaker responded:

“I would say my preferred cut would have been maybe 25 minutes longer, but I actually feel like this cut is the most accessible cut. There probably will exist a director’s cut, and I would not actually call the director’s cut necessarily better. I would say, ‘This is the cut with scenes that were very painful for me to cut that I might have not cut if I weren’t encouraged to keep pushing.’ But [the theatrical version] is definitely an approved cut. I had final cut on the film, and I’m very proud of what we arrived at. But yes, I would say, the three-hour and forty-five minute cut, I would never want anybody to watch. I would say there’s a two-hour and forty-five minute cut, without credits, that I would be interested in what people thought.”

In Midsommar, “Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.”


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #57 on: August 27, 2019, 02:31:21 PM
Through some miracle, my nearest ACM is one of the select few. Bought me a ticket for Friday.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #58 on: August 31, 2019, 12:35:22 AM
I'm in serious danger of blowing this out of proportion, but yeah, wow, that was one of the best director's cuts I've seen. Definitely feels like this is the real thing—this is what we were supposed to see. It's very long, indulgent, and cinematic in that way, so I understand, but still... a shame.

It's a fuller experience. Feels like a complete journey in ways that the original cut did not. Some key scenes have more time to breathe, give us more information, and feel more connected to the surrounding scenes. Makes you realize how chopped up some sections of the original were. This works a lot better.

SPOILERS but nothing too specific about the director's cut

The extra scenes and moments we get with the cult make you feel more immersed in their little world. There's enough to make them a bit more grounded. Things make a little more sense. Surely some of this was the benefit of rewatch, and I couldn't always tell what was new. But there's one completely new ritual/pageantry scene that's very illuminating.

We get a lot more Christian in the director's cut. And oh boy, he does not fare well. His coldness comes into crystal clear view. He has no real human connection or attachment to any of his friends, in fact. We get to see Dani come to that realization gradually throughout the film. This is probably in the original, but Dani has one especially strong reaction shot where she looks at him like, oh, I get it, you're an actual real-life sociopath. Christian, in fact, probably does have a serious personality disorder. And remember that Dani is a psychology student, so she very specifically figures Christian out. Some of that was in the original, but some of it was definitely not. The director's cut leaves no room for mystery about Christian. The phenomenon of Christian defenders simply would not be a thing if everyone saw this cut.

I was struck even more strongly by the happy ending. The music throughout the whole last sequence is unambiguously joyful.

So yeah. Great stuff. Enough for this to flip back to my fave of the year.
"Hunger is the purest sin"


Something Spanish

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Reply #59 on: August 31, 2019, 08:23:33 AM
(SPOILERS, BIG TIME

has the polar opposite reaction, JB. was really digging the DC up to a certain point, as a matter of fact, was jubilant with the notion that this felt like a whole new movie, fresher, despite having seen Midsommar twice less than two months ago, now it was if experiencing it for the first time. slowly the feeling dissipated with the elasticated length, and by the time it arrived at the new ritual scene by the lake i nearly completely checked out. there were too many cons overpowering the pros between the two cuts. while I hated Christian much more, seeing how there is little mystery to his toxically manipulative personality, all the extra footage sacrificed the power of the pageantry, you need to get to all those rituals much sooner since they are very procedural and leisurely show you that entire process, and all the extra character scenes bogs the rituals down. at first i loved how much more of an asshole Mark seemed, but at a certain point it felt like overkill. he just doesn't shut the fuck up with snarky comments in this cut. the theatrical version is much better balanced, delivered a stronger emotional wallop. this is a movie that already takes its time to slowly develop and reveal its nefarious intentions, so supplementing the already turgid story with more of the same for clarity's sake felt unnecessary. I longed to have your reaction, seeing as I love Midsommar, but could not abide the alterations. The movie I saw twice back to back in July felt perfects, all this cut did was sully that experience. Maybe I'd give it another shot after viewing the theatrical cut a few more times to rinse this experience from memory.

and man did that added ritual scene not work: i'm assuming it's all geared to the community choosing Dani as the May queen, yet felt so pointless. can see why it was cut. the only aspect I liked was the clarity in Dani's animosity for Chistian as the film progressed, which makes opting for his death somewhat clearer at the end, although as already said by that point I was completely checked out. still glad I gave it a shot, just didn't do it for me.