Director, Ari Aster is known for bringing new innovations to the horror genre. He is known for not relying on jumpscares or monsters to scare the viewers. Yet, his movies are quite unsettling to watch. This sometimes leads to confusion and people want movies like Midsommar explained.
As you might’ve guessed, we are focusing on Midsommar today. We will try to break it down and figure out the hidden meaning behind its ending. The symbolism present throughout the movie is also worth taking a look at.
So spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t watched the movie yet. Many viewers were left perplexed by the events of Midsommar, but fear not, we have Midsommar explained in a way that makes sense.
Midsommar is a horror thriller movie, released on July 3, 2019. It stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, and Vilhelm Blomgren among others.
The story of this film revolves around a couple, Dani and Christian. Their relationship is rapidly falling apart. After an incident involving Dani’s family, Christian invites Dani to join his friends for a trip across Europe. The purpose of this trip is to witness the midsummer celebration in a small Swedish village.
This little trip of theirs starts out quite normal but things get increasingly disturbing as the villagers partake in some unnerving and bizarre rituals. Soon, these activities start resembling a cult.
Now that we have given you an overview of Midsommar’s plot, we can start having Midsommar explained. We have broken down different symbolic messaging present throughout the movie.
Even though most of the story is pretty straightforward, there’s always more than meets the eye. So let’s jump right into our version of Midsommar explained.
The villagers in this movie have a strong bond. They all feel each other’s pain. This is quite evident in a couple of scenes. Let’s take an early scene for example.
During the ättestupa ritual, an elderly man falls from the cliff and is suffering from pain because he didn’t die, and the villagers start crying together. This is quite an eerie scene but this shows how the villagers are connected like a body. They feel pain if any of the limbs is hurt or broken.
Another example of this is the scene where the girls help Dani while crying with her. They share her pain which indicates she is now one of them. We will come back to this later on. However, this is a connection that she has been missing throughout the years.
If you need Midsommar explained then you can’t ignore the idea of shared emotion which is quite prevalent throughout the movie. It will come in handy in the next sections of this Midsommar explained article.
As per ritual, the villagers hold a Maypole dance competition. The girls from the tribe dance together till only one of them is standing. In this case, it is Dani who emerges victorious in this competition and is crowned May Queen.
However, this sequence isn’t as straightforward as it seems. This is the exact moment when Dani knows she belongs with these people. In simpler words, Dani embraces this culture during this competition.
The entire dance symbolizes that these people genuinely care for her, and she finally feels held due to the nature of this dance. Another takeaway from this scene is the moment she begins talking to the two remaining girls.
Dani clearly mentions she doesn’t speak Swedish. However, the girls are actually talking gibberish and Dani can fully understand them. It goes to show that Dani is finally connected to them. This comes into play at a later scene as well as I have mentioned earlier.
Dani’s New Family
Christian has been emotionally unavailable to Dani throughout the movie. He is clearly not catering to her emotional needs and is more focused on his thesis. Dani wanted this trip to reconnect with her boyfriend but Christian is too focused elsewhere.
So eventually she needed something to fill this gap and the cult did this job.
The cult manipulates her emotions and gives her what she really wants. Dani needed the earlier mentioned togetherness and the cult preyed on it. We watch how her boyfriend Christian is cruel, ignoring her trauma about her family and then hardly assisting her through the grief process.
The breaking point comes when Dani witnesses Christian partaking in the mating ritual. This indicates that Christian has been an infidel (if it weren’t obvious from the start). Christian partaking in the mating ritual severs all ties he has with Dani.
Dani’s mentality completely breaks here. She gets consolidated by fellow tribeswomen. They all do strange breathing and crying exercises. They get in sync with her crying. It is a strange yet quite powerful scene.
She came here with her friends but was ignored and undermined, especially by her boyfriend. So she finally lets out her inner grief with the help of these villagers. She has found the family she was looking for all this time.
The next day, following fertility ceremonies, the Harga announces that nine human lives would be sacrificed as the finale of their magnificent, midsummer festival. Four people would be from the village while the other four would be outsiders. Queen May has the choice of the last person.
A disgruntled and heartbroken Dani chooses Christian. He’s placed in a bear carcass and wheeled inside the previously forbidden yellow pyramid-shaped building. Christian is joined by the eight other sacrifices.
Eventually, Christian and the others are set on fire while the Harga people scream as one of the people inside screams in agony. Dani seems to be affected by it too as she can be seen screaming.
In the final shot, Dani softly smiles while staring at the burning building. It might mean that she has finally let go of her trauma. This was made possible by the Harga tribe. They accepted her and they were the family she needed.
Midsommar: A Fairytale?
Ari Aster has mentioned numerous times how he sees this film as a fairytale and the audiences should as well. If you have read a couple of fairy tales, you’d realize they all have a pattern. For instance, the protagonist is usually missing her parents or they’re killed off early in the story.
Secondly, the fairy tale ends with them becoming a princess or “living happily afterward.” This is the case here as well. Instead of a princess, Dani becomes the queen. Which is why Dani can be seen smiling.
So if you see the film from that perspective, Midsommar explained becomes easier.
Harga: Friend Or Foe
A big point of discussion about the movie is the intention of the Harga people. They have some pretty questionable practices throughout the movie that makes one confused about their morality.
Throughout the movie, they can be seen manipulating the events to bring Dani closer to them.
One can say that Christian deserved that fate but honestly, Dani wouldn’t go down that path. After all, it was the tribe that provoked and drugged Christian so he could participate in the mating ceremony.
This manipulative nature of the tribe has raised many eyebrows about whether the tribe is actually good for Dani or just another toxic environment. It is an open-ended discussion without any results so far.
The people they killed weren’t really innocent. All of them did something wrong or hurt Dani in a way. They pretty much had it coming. Some people even argue that even if they hadn’t broken a rule, their fate was sealed as soon as they stepped foot into their grounds.
All in all, it is the perfect example of a cultural shock. Dani and her friends weren’t from this place thus they had a different viewpoint of this. However, Dani eventually chooses this place to be her new home as they are more in touch with her.
So this was our attempt at Midsommar explained. We hope you take away some good information about the movie through this. The movie was meant to be confusing as per the director. Many aspects of Midsommar are still up for discussion.
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