Ari Aster’s 2019 film Midsommar takes us on a surreal journey to a remote Swedish village, where a group of friends witnesses a pagan festival that quickly turns dark and deadly. Like his previous film, Hereditary, Midsommar is a thought-provoking and intense exploration of complex themes, such as grief, belonging, and the search for a new family in unexpected places that might need to be explained.
RELATED: Ari Aster’s Hereditary Explained
As it happened with Hereditary, Midsommar hides some of the more meaningful aspects of its lore and themes between the lines, leaving a lot of it up to the viewer’s interpretation. That’s why we’ll now delve deep into the mysteries hidden in Midsommar as we try to make heads or tails of Ari Aster’s second thrilling horror masterpiece.
Midsommar‘s protagonist, Dani, is dealing with a devastating loss and a strained relationship with her boyfriend, Christian. The reason for her grief is that Dani’s sister has just done the unthinkable: she killed herself and her parents with carbon monoxide.
This tragic event offers us a glimpse into Dani and Christian’s relationship – which isn’t great, to say the least. Christian does the bare minimum to comfort Dani in her time of need, a fact that Dani undoubtedly notices.
Just as it seems as if their relationship couldn’t get any more strained, Dani learns that Christian planned to go on a trip to Sweden without telling her. Reluctantly, Christian decides to bring Dani along for the unforgettable trip.
RELATED: Midsommar Review – A Sublime Tapestry Of Horror And Healing
Pelle is a member of the Hårga community: a pagan cult that practices ancient rituals and ceremonies in almost complete isolation. The Hårga is portrayed as a close-knit and insular community deeply rooted in their traditions and beliefs.
They view death and rebirth as part of a natural cycle, and their rituals often involve elaborate costumes, dancing, and hallucinogenic drugs. The Hårga also practice a form of communal living, with all members sharing resources and responsibilities.
As Midsommar progresses, it becomes clear that the Hårga have their own motivations for inviting the outsiders to their festival. They see Dani as a kindred spirit who has experienced profound loss, and they hope to provide her with a sense of belonging and healing.
However, it soon becomes apparent that the Hårga have more sinister intentions, and they begin to subject the visitors to increasingly macabre and violent rituals.
RELATED: Is Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid a Horror Film?
Throughout Midsommar, Dani undergoes a transformation as she becomes increasingly drawn to the Hårga and their rituals. She finds a sense of belonging and connection with the community, which offers her a degree of empathy and support that she never received from her boyfriend, Christian.
The turning point for Dani comes when she witnesses Christian’s ritualistic murder, which is orchestrated by the Hårga as part of their midsummer festival. While this event is horrific and disturbing, it also serves as a moment of catharsis for Dani, who is finally able to release her pain and anger.
Dani, now crowned as the May Queen of the Hårga, watches in horror as her boyfriend – and her past – goes up in flames. However, the final moments of Midsommar reveal an even more disturbing sight. Instead of just crying, Dani now smirks, as she has fully embraced the traditions of the Hårga and, more importantly, has finally found a new place to call “home,” as cruel as it might be.
In many ways, the ending of Midsommar is both twisted and bittersweet, as Dani finds a new sense of home and connection even as the film’s events become increasingly dark and violent. It’s a testament to Aster’s skill as a filmmaker that he can explore such complex themes with such nuance and depth, leaving audiences with much to ponder long after the credits have rolled.
RELATED: Why The Academy Awards Hate A24 Movies
What did you think of Ari Aster’s Midsommar?