Midsommar was already a strong candidate for film of the year. The characters, including the Hårga, are more fleshed out in this directors cut.
There are more scenes chronicling Dani’s and Christian’s ever collapsing relationship, which was one of the strongest aspects of the original cut as well. They don’t even get to Sweden until a half hour or so into the film.
The stand out was when Christian invites Dani to Sweden, which is absent in the Theatrical Cut. Showing this whole interaction made the sudden jump to invite Dani make more sense, and made the cut to the following scene way funnier.
Dani and Christian’s relationship isn’t the only one falling apart, as paranoia and selfishness eat all of Christians friendships away. They all slowly start to go mad and Aster brings a certain beauty to it, as this shiny veneer is peeled back to reveal a disguising series of rituals.
There is more time devoted to showing the customs and rituals of the Hårga, including an entire ritual scene at night. This is followed by Dani and Christian having an argument which adds way more context to the finale.
This sudden jump to night in a film that mostly takes place in the day was jarring, and a nice change of pace. It feels very deliberate and it’s a shame it didn’t make it into the theatrical cut.
The Hårga, who’s name refers to a story in which the devil forces a group of villagers to dance until they die, are based on real Swedish communes and traditions, with Asters horror staples sprinkled on top.
The community feels very lived in and believable. The amount of time and talent that went into crafting this world is very clear, as every intricately painted tile tells a story of its own and even hints at what is to come.
I wrote way more than this but I’m saving it for a future analysis. Overall, this almost 3 hour cut is worth a watch if you loved the experience of the theatrical cut.
MIDSOMMAR will do for Swedish pagan solstice rituals what Psycho did for showers. a psychedelic fairy tale about ridding oneself of fear and pain — absolutely delightful from its nightmare of an opening to its floral purge of a finale. get ready to laugh.
my first night at college, a friend and i took our first weed cookie from a girl we’d just met. 2 hours later we locked ourselves in my dorm room, laid on the twin beds, and tried our best not to die. after my friend decided to go back to her own room to sleep (it took her a solid 3 minutes to get the key in the hole), i was alone in the dark and nothing felt real. i turned on the lights, and everything felt too real. i was too paralyzed with panic to scramble the 5 feet across the tiny room to get my (prescription!) xanax. nothing has captured that self-inflicted terror like Midsommar.
fear lurks in the darkness. while Hereditary (and most horror) elicits scares from the creeping shadows and uncertain skitters in the murky background, Midsommar thrusts them into an unwelcome, confrontational spotlight. there is nowhere to hide in perpetual daylight. trauma must be confronted. gore and the grotesque beg to be exposed, maybe even reveled in.
a repeated phrase in ari aster’s script is “it’s horrible and it’s beautiful.” if that’s what he was going for, he hit the hammer on the skull.
The jury is still out on Ari Aster for me. Both Hereditary and Midsommar are well made but the themes are similar and the pace drags, both with equally disappointing conclusions. Midsommar is far too strenched out and familiar. With a runtime as long as 147 minutes, you expect the narrative to go in new and surprising directions only to find its basically a retread of the far superior The Wicker Man. It’s not without some entertainment value but overall I’m not convinced we are witnessing much in the way of spectacle.