tek's rating: WTF?!

Midsommar (R)
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This came out in 2019. I watched it in 2020, on Midsummer. (Well, mostly; I watched the last half hour the next night.) The version I saw was two and a half hours long, but the director's cut is closer to three.

Seriously, I don't know how to rate this film. And I don't want to say too much about it. Basically, there's a young woman named Dani (Florence Pugh), whose sister has a history of threatening suicide, and early in the film, she finally goes through with it, killing her parents at the same time. This, of course, leaves Dani utterly devastated. And it leaves her boyfriend, Christian, in a difficult position. He's been wanting to break up with her for like a year now, but to do so after this tragedy would obviously be too much of an asshole move. This all happened in winter, and the movie then flashes forward to summer, at which point Dani is still mostly in a state of shock. Then she finds out that Christian has been planning to go to Sweden with his friends Josh (William Jackson Harper, whom I know from The Good Place), Mark, and Pelle. Josh is working on his anthropology thesis, which is about European midsummer traditions, which is why he's going to Pelle's home, an isolated commune in Sweden. Christian hasn't decided on his own thesis yet, and hopes to be inspired by the trip. And I guess Mark is basically just tagging along. Christian invites Dani to go with them, but he doesn't expect her to actually do so. She does, however, and throughout their stay, their relationship becomes increasingly strained. Meanwhile, it seems as if Pelle might have romantic feelings for Dani, though it's kind of hard to tell for sure; he might just be friendly. (Either way, he seems to care about Dani more than Christian does.) Another member of the commune has brought an English couple named Simon and Connie with him, though we don't get to know them as well as the main group of Americans.

Anyway, most of movie is not at all a horror movie. Most of what goes on in the commune's celebration of Midsummer seems fairly harmless. And the focus is more on Dani and Christian's relationship, as well as Josh's academic interest in the local traditions (which eventually leads to a dispute between him and Christian, for a reason I won't get into). But the horror, when it does come, packs a wallop. In fact, it's hard to believe the foreigners don't all decide to leave after the first truly horrific occurrence, but then again, I'm not sure they'd have been able to if they tried. But things do go back to something resembling "normal," before again veering into some very strange and dark territory, the details of which I don't want to spoil. I'll just say that my initial review of the film, like my rating of it, was simply "WTF?!"

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