A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled midsummer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
But everyone’s so nice…..
So we have Dani, a young woman (played by the excellent Florence Pugh) whose wobbly relationship with her boyfriend Christian continues only because of an appalling tragedy which leaves her completely alone. She tags along on the trip Christian has planned with his mates to their friend Pelle’s home village in Sweden for the reasons mention in the blurb.
It’s beautiful and sunny and everyone in the village is welcoming. It’s clear that many of the returning younger folk have brought friends with them, and as time goes on we realise that this is no accident; these guests are here for A Purpose. The community is maintaining itself through the sacrifice of its older members and those outsiders brought along to take part in something that I think is supposed to have been vaguely explained to them but for which they are just not prepared.
I mean, who would be?
It’s not a frightening film, and anyone who has dabbled in this sort of story before will have no trouble in working out what the endgame is, though it’s how we get there that provides the interest. It’s very disturbing and I experienced a strong feeling of dread while watching it in the cinema – on my own as no-one wanted to come with me. I am very brave 😀
It has to be said that Florence Pugh is amazing. I really didn’t know her until I watched the BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s Little Drummer Girl where she played the lead, but I will be looking out for more of her work. I understand she is brilliant in Lady Macbeth which is now in my streaming queue.
I left the screening with lots of questions but they were of the “I want to know more” rather than the “WTF was that?” variety.
Such an unsettling film with obvious references The Wicker Man (an old favourite of mine; to be clear, the 1973 version not the Nicolas Cage monstrosity) but very much its own thing. I loved it. Well worth watching if you don’t mind the gore. And the creepiness of smiley folk with flower crowns.
Dazzling details: Midsommar is directed by Ari Aster (see my thoughts on Hereditary here), is 2h 27 long and rated (unsurprisingly) 18 for strong, gory images.