Movies

Midsommar

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Fictitious movies about cults are often a little bit sexy. There's a hint of appeal embedded in a commune—a place where all belong. But given the ritual suicide that takes place in the first 30 minutes of Ari Aster's Midsommar, it's pretty obvious he is not trying to sell you on commune life.

By setting orphaned Dani, her boyfriend, and their friends' summer escapades in the Swedish commune Harga, Aster flips the association of evil with darkness, letting the film scare viewers in broad daylight.

The movie—received better by critics than by audiences—explores moral relativism and collectivism. In one poignant early scene, an elderly couple is pushed to kill themselves. The initially horrified American visitors soon make their peace by speculating that people from other cultures would be equally disgusted by how we treat our elderly.

As Dani and her boyfriend's stilted relationship falls apart, the cult replaces their need for both independence and intimacy. Midsommar provides an unusually apt depiction of a mushroom trip, but its themes are not liberatory. It's an exploration of how cults corrupt people's senses of morality and individualism.

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  1. “In one poignant early scene, an elderly couple is pushed to kill themselves. The initially horrified American visitors soon make their peace by speculating that people from other cultures would be equally disgusted by how we treat our elderly.”

    So the Netherlands are a cult?

    1. I don’t know why this posted without the other text but I’m glad to see the Critical Drinkker getting some recognition down the thread.

  2. A couple of my friends saw this and said it was boring. And a hilarious but perceptive film critic from Scotland I enjoy following on YouTube, The Critical Drinker, also panned it. So I skipped it.

    I also got the impression Midsommar is more or less a remake of The Wicker Man, which is a horror classic. (The one with Donald Sutherland, not the lame remake with Nicholas Cage.)

    1. Donald Sutherland wasn’t in the Wicker Man.

      But thanks for letting everyone know what your friends think of the movie here. My friends haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll keep you informed on any updates.

      1. I think my one friend disapproves of you making fun of his friends. I’ll let you know.

      2. I feel I have to mention having friends whenever possible because there are just so few of them. Rather like intelligent life forms on the streets of Glasgow on a Sunday morning.

    2. Another Critical Drinker fan!

      1. He’s an inebriated but stunningly eloquent observer of popular culture.

    3. Critical Drinker is an excellent and entertaining critic. Now, that’s all I’ve got to say, go away now!

      1. I don’t remember which movie it was but the description of “like watching a roomba try to clean a pile of shit off the carpet” still brings tears to my eyes.

    4. I too got a sense of the Wicker Man. The original, not the bees.

      But there was no Donald Sutherland. You may be thinking of Christopher Lee.

    5. Definitely Wicker-like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s more or less a remake.

      It’s more of a creepy toned kind of thing than a straight up horror movie. I can’t recommend it to everyone, as it’s kind of slow and not very plot heavy. But for some reason I found it oddly satisfying. Maybe I was just in the right mood for that kind of thing.

      I read somewhere that the writer/director was mostly inspired by going through a painful break up. It retrospect, it really is about co-dependency and depression more than anything else.

      If you don’t think I’m doing a good job of selling it, then that’s a great sign you should not see this movie.

      It mostly just does a good job of setting a creepy mood and maintaining it all the way through.

  3. A 10 sentence review? Pretty light.

    I just watched a review. This guy is pretty funny.

    The Critical Drinker
    Midsommar – The WORST Movie I’ve Seen All Year
    https://youtu.be/DB-Fw3P_97I

    ### Spoiler Alert ###
    Wicker Man for feminist millenials.

    1. I’m looking forward to his Joker review next week.

    2. His sarcastic “appreciation” of the The Last Jedi is terrific!

  4. It’s an exploration of how cults corrupt people’s senses of morality and individualism.

    Correction:

    It’s an exploration of how RELIGION corrupt people’s senses of morality and individualism.

    A cult is just someone elses religion.

    1. And progressivism is a secular religion.

  5. > The initially horrified American visitors soon make their peace by speculating that people from other cultures would be equally disgusted by how we treat our elderly.

    What!??!? You don’t tow your elderly out to the ice floe? Barbarians!

  6. My wife and I viewed this on its opening day. Overall, I thought it was quite good — my standard being how much we discussed it and analyzed it after seeing it. My wife’s initial reaction was that is was the most disturbing movie she had ever seen. The comparisons to “Wicker Man” are surely there, but I think this movie is better. The suicide scdne was — haunting. This is a really good movie: it is about as eerily terrifying as a movie can get, and will keep you thinking and talking about it for hours after seeing it. What more could one want from a good horror flick?

  7. “received better by critics than by audiences”

    Usually that’s all I know to realize that a movie sucks.

    Maybe there’s an example here and there of a good movie appreciated by the critics by dismissed by the boorish public.

    Usually, though, it’s the opposite – it tends to be the critics who are wrong and the actual viewing public which is right.

    I saw a truly awful horror movie praised by critics but with a mixed reception from the public (as measured by Rotten tomatoes). The people who praised it must have been watching a different movie, because the actual movie really, really sucked.

    I can understand the faction of regular viewers who gave good reviews, since given the genre their expectation would have been rock bottom and they would be easily satisfied. But the other viewers rightly warned me away from the film, in vain.

  8. I wish more “liberals” and others of the generous-with-other-people’s-money crowd would join communes. They could own their property in common, and have the socialism they currently pine for RIGHT NOW! And then–and this is the beauty part–LEAVE THE REST OF US THE HELL ALONE.

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