…if you haven’t seen Ari Aster‘s Midsommar. From a guy who saw it last night. Without further ado:
“Loved Midsommar, and was with it all the way: the more bonkers it got, the more I was lapping it up. I howled when the old lady grabbed Jack Reynor‘s ass and started shoving it up and down. His bug-eyed ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?’ face is priceless. Ari has the fucking goods, imbued with the go-for-broke guts of Ken Russell and the sinister precision of Roman Polanski. I will now go see anything this guy does, knowing that it may not be perfection but will be skilled, intelligent and original.
“I felt the whole thing was less about dealing with a romantic break-up and more about the lead female character” — Florence Pugh‘s — “finding a support group that was able to share and absorb and help her channel the incalculable grief stemming from the loss of her sister, mother and father. I think the shitty boyfriend is less of a problem than the galactic rage and pain she needs to expel from her soul. He unfortunately gets caught in the crossfire, but he’s hardly EVIL…he’s just a crappy boyfriend. What man in his early 20s is mature enough to be a good boyfriend, really?
“Pugh’s character is much more culpable, especially since her new ‘family’ plotted the whole thing. THEY coerced & roofied her boyfriend into a pagan mating ritual while they distracted her with a flowery carriage ride coronation. When Dani returns and sees her boyfriend fucking the pube-cake girl, she runs into the dorm and all the young women surround her, drop down to the floor with her in solidarity and scream along with her. Their screams are ALL genuine — a shared howl of female pain and rage because all of them have felt this kind of betrayal before. It’s an extremely powerful moment that felt so real and was such a smart choice.
“So at the end, Dani is up on the stage in her flower tea-cozy, and the group says, ‘Hey, so, uh…we know we kinda murdered all your friends — even though they were all pretty lame and foolish, especially that tall, funny-looking clown from Black Mirror — and we lured your boyfriend into fucking our most fertile virgin. But hey let’s face it: he was done with you a long time ago, and you were done with him too, but you didn’t know it cuz you were in the middle of an emotional crisis, and you needed SOMEBODY to lean on, even if it was his waffling ass.
“‘So, ANYway…you’re queen now, and since we kinda tricked you into this position….as a good-faith bygones-be-bygones gesture, to show you that you’re truly in charge, we’re gonna let YOU choose who gets burned to death in the barn. One of our guys — this handsome, dough-faced Swede with the nice hair….or your catatonic, ball-drained ex over here in this wheelbarrow, dribbling on himself?’
“When she chooses the ex, she’s not only indulging in the sadism of being his executioner, but she’s choosing this new family to replace the one she lost. She’s throwing all the bits of her old life into a barn and burning it down. It’s a catharsis. The whole thing is about going to extreme methods to deal with extreme grief.
“Incidentally: Every movie lover has certain movies that passed them by when they were popular. Forrest Gump is one of those for me. Not only did it look like a heaving piece of shit in 1994, but the movie has infused itself into the cultural fabric for so long now, I feel I’ve seen it at least five times. Forrest Gump is on my ‘Never Saw It, Never Will’ badge of honor along with any Star Wars movie made after 1983, and the Lord of the Rings movies.”