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YMMV / Midsommar

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  • Acceptable Targets: Male anthropology majors.
  • Accidental Aesop: While the intentional message seems to hew closer to ridding yourself of the bad influences in your life, in the end the message can come across as saying that it feels a lot better (at least on the surface) to be in a toxic, manipulative relationship that puts you on a pedestal rather than one that mostly ignores you.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: There's no denying Christian is a lousy boyfriend towards Dani and can be a selfish, manipulative tool at times even towards his so-called friends, but it's highly questionable if he's being intentionally abusive or dangerous in any way and the extreme Humiliation Conga and brutal execution (approved by Dani) at the hands of the Hårga he ends up going through has moved him closer to Jerkass Woobie in some viewer's eyes.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Christian & Dani and the nature of their relationship are heavily subjected to this.
    • Is Dani an extreme Woobie who, perhaps thanks to a mixture of severe anxiety & depression after her family's death and the toxic relationship with the friends around her, experiences an extreme Sanity Slippage at the solstice that ultimately leads her to being gaslit into joining the Cult and assisting their sacrifice of Christian and his friends, or over the course of the ritual does she slowly turn into a Villain Protagonist who may be fully committed to the cult's murder of Christian as extreme payback with little regard to the human collateral damage or any of the group's possible future victims? Is the final moment a Moment of Awesome and well-deserved moment of catharsis after her long bout of suffering, or the whole finale a Moral Event Horizon for a once sympathetic heroine? Was her approval of the executions out of any sense of need or safety, or simply out of personal desire?
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    • Is there something more sinister or calculated about Christian's callous and occasionally manipulative behavior towards Dani and his friends? Is he Obfuscating Stupidity to get what he wants? Is he an immature brat who believes himself to be a Nice Guy? Or is he just as ill-equipped to handle Dani's terrible situation as most people in his position would be? Is his inability to break up with Dani a sign of a weak will, or a conscience that prevents him from leaving Dani in the wake of such unimaginable trauma?
    • In the end, is Christian ultimately Hoisted By His Own Petard for his many failings, or is it case of extreme Disproportionate Retribution by a deceived woman scorned? Does he put Dani in any sort of geniune danger that might make her feel his death was necessary, or is she being manipulated by the Harga and the disorienting midnight sun? That Christian's infidelity was mostly non-consensual, and that Dani had at least a good idea the Hårga were trying to put a spell on him, make the motives for Dani's final actions and how much we're meant to sympathize with her or with Christian... debatable, to say the least.
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    • That also brings up the question about Dani's breakdown after her witnessing him and Maja's "encounter" in the shed: does she genuinely think Christian "betrayed" her, or is it that an avalanche of long-standing resentments and anger towards him comes spilling out in her painful wail? Is it all symbolizing her last, painful cutoff from the outside world? Has she lost all grip on her sanity after this moment, or simply a painful emotional purge before her final "revenge"?.
    • Is Josh an ethical anthropologist, or an exploitative voyeur? Was he ever going to ask Pelle for permission to write his thesis on the Hårga, or did he only cop to it because Christian asked outright? Christian piggybacking on Josh's thesis is a dick move, but what ownership does Josh really have over the Hårga's culture?
    • Pelle. Is he genuinely sympathetic towards Dani's plight and really believes the Hårga will help her or just seeking glory for himself? Does he in fact have a crush on her and / or is he trying to manipulate her into joining the cult all along? Does he have any genuine intuition that Dani will fit in there, or does he simply plan to bully and manipulate her into staying?
    • Alternatively you could make a case that Pelle himself has been so screwed up mentally by the Hårga that in his own twisted way he thinks he's doing good. If you see Dani as having been "manipulated" by the cult, then it stands to reason that Pelle definitely was, given that Dani spent at most weeks with them whilst Pelle spent his whole life with them.
    • Exactly who is the audience's sympathy supposed to be with? The visitors? The Hårga? Are we supposed to sympathize with Dani or those who are burned alive in the shed at the end? Everybody? Nobody?
  • Awesome Music: The score by The Haxan Cloak makes excellent use of "Psycho" Strings and perfectly compliments every scene. Special mention goes to the Soundtrack Dissonance-laden finale.
  • Broken Base: The director's cut and the alteration it makes to some of the characters has been a bit divisive. Some say it clarifies the character's relationships & motivations better and especially getting to the heart of what's so off between Dani & Christian, as well as spending a little more time with the Harga and the Midsommar ritual that adds to the overall horror; to others it can all come across like a blatant Author's Saving Throw to ramp up the Jerkass-ery of the American victims in order to justify the film's controversial ending that in turn creates a lot more character inconsistencies/Out of Character moments, and also worsening the film's already heavy Ending Fatigue.
    • The ending itself has, unavoidably, caused a major rift in the audience, thanks mainly to the highly controversial use of the Double Standard involving Christian's rape at the hands of the Maja & the Harga's women and having Dani personally approve the murder of her boyfriend. Even some who were rooting for a genuine Take That, Scrappy! moment towards Christian questioned whether Aster took things too far, with the ongoing debate (further clouded somewhat by Aster and the actors' somewhat differing takes on the situation & Dani's state of mind in the end) whether the finale was intended- either literally or metaphorically- as a Downer Ending where nobody is meant to be seen in the right or a deserved Catharsis Factor where Dani's final decision & actions are supposed to be looked upon in a positive light.
  • Catharsis Factor: For those rooting for the demise of Christian and his friends, the ending will give you this. Ari Aster has said in interviews that he was going for a "toxic catharsis" - ie deliberately subverting the idea of this trope until a Downer Ending and a Catharsis Factor aren't mutually exclusive.
  • Cliché Storm: A possible criticism of the film is that it hits basically every possible trope you could expect from a horror movie about a cult: ritualistic suicide, ritualistic human sacrifice, incest, secretive and manipulative leaders, arranged sex/marriage, creepy artwork, and so on. However, critics and viewers tend to emphasize Midsommar's characterization and aesthetics over the originality of its plot.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A cinematic world where almost everybody is a complete jerkass or Affably Evil and the few sympathetic characters are either killed, tortured or end up turning over to the dark side has, along with the film's heavy doses of shock horror, been quite the turn off to a not-insignificant portion of the film's audience.
  • Designated Hero: Despite Dani's extreme woobie nature, at the end there's no denying she's become an accomplice to mass murder of many innocent people solely for the Harga's superstitious beliefs. There's definitely legitimate debate over how much she has control over her own sanity at the end and whether her decision to join the cult and assist in their final ritual was made in a lucid state of mind, but has been ascended to the level of hero status by some viewers simply because some of the victims were her snobby American "friends"... while overlooking the fact that many innocent people who did absolutely nothing to her were also burned alive in the process and how the ritual ended up being entirely for the benefit of an extremely sinister, gaslighting, murderous cult.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • There are a lot of people who think the Hårga are the good guys and Dani will be safe with them. While this is somewhat understandable due to the extreme Jerkass of the American visitors, this pointedly overlooks how violent, manipulative, and dangerous they are. Killing Connie (who hadn't done anything wrong except wanting to leave) or even Simon (sure, he interrupted their ritual but...) is really a classic example. Plus, even if Dani does have a good life there, remember what happens at age 72?
    • Mark definitely has his fans despite being an even more boorish (if less sinister) jerkass than his friends and similarly having a general indifference to the cult's brutality that becomes more apparent in the Director's cut.
  • Eight Deadly Words: Go read complaints about the movie just about anywhere. They all boil down to the characters being too plain and/or too much of a jerk and everyone being Too Dumb to Live, leaving zero emotional investment to whatever happens to those people.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mark, due to his comedic timing and being played by Will Poulter.
  • Epileptic Trees: With this film involving cults and being directed by Ari Aster for A24, tons of people are speculating that this film takes place in the same universe as Ari's previous movie (also for A24), Hereditary.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The ending of the movie has Dani finally smiling and happy, supposedly free of the toxic relationships that kept her back in the outside world, and supposedly finally finding a family. However, there's also no denying that she's joining a violent, manipulative cult that's committed multiple murders for which she's played some part in their particularly brutal execution, meaning she's either lost all grip on her sanity, has turned Affably Evil in the end, or is in for a brutal awakening once her high finally wears off.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Dani's life in the cult after the burning ritual and whether Christian and Maja's baby finds out about of his/her's father's fate and whether or not they take revenge on Dani or the entire cult itself has proved quite enticing to fanfic writers.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Going by the number of fanfics, Dani/Pelle is far more popular than Dani/Christian.
    • Christian/Maja has been surprisingly popular for those who don't view the former as The Scrappy (especially by those envisioning a happier ending for all), as he comes across as having far more chemistry with her upon first meeting than his canon romance with Dani... but the fact that it's ultimately moved forward and consummated through the aid of a "love-spell" aka essentially mind-rape, it's become much more of a No Yay pairing by the end.
  • Genius Bonus: Simon has his lungs extracted from his body and splayed out like wings while he is still alive. This is a method of ritual execution found in Norse sagas called the Blood Eagle.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Despite Christian being a bad boyfriend to Dani and generally a selfish, at times manipulative, asshole to both her and his own friends, does that mean a fair karmic payback is essentially being raped through hypnosis, paralyzed and then burned alive? (which was ordered by his own girlfriend no less).
    • Pelle could be seen as this too. Yes he did knowingly lead several innocent people to their doom, but consider that he's been raised to believe that being sacrificed is to be honored he probably thought he was doing them a favor.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The whole cult (presumably) crossed it many times before Dani and co showed up.
    • Dani crosses it by the end by ordering her boyfriend to be burned to death for "cheating" (despite that not ultimately being the case) and perhaps his many previous failures as a boyfriend... though whether she was making it through her own, sane free will will forever be up to debate.
  • Narm: Like with Hereditary, once the cults go over-the-top it becomes unintentionally funny (best examples being the sex scene - where a woman even helps with the thrusts! - and the "shared wails").
    • Christian being stuffed in a dead bear sounds creepier on paper, the end result has him looking like a giant teddy bear.
  • Nausea Fuel: Hopefully, no one is eating while watching this film, some of the best examples are:
    • The ritual suicide with the elder couple's faces completely destroyed, with the old man's leg split in half and his face then caved in with a gigantic hammer.
    • Christian unknowingly eating Maja's pubic hair and drinking her menstrual blood.
    • Simon getting the blood eagle treatment, even worse is that he is barely alive.
    • Christian's non-consensual sexual intercourse with Maja being surrounded by nude women, some of whom are elderly; plus, while Maja may be sixteen and thus legal in Sweden, it's still a teenager raping a man in his late twenties.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Due to how toxic Christian and his friends are, it becomes increasingly easy for some viewers to root for the Hårga in tormenting them and be on board in the finale when Dani orders for his execution at the end.
  • Signature Scene: The ättestupa ritual, which has attained similar notoriety to the car accident in Hereditary.
  • Squick: Hoo boy.
    • Dani's sister's suicide by way of a car exhaust hose taped to her mouth is shown unflinchingly and without any romanticizing.
    • The old man's broken legs when the ättestupa ritual goes wrong.
    • The cult's "oracles" are deliberately inbred, and romantic couplings between cousins are permitted on occasion.
    • As part of a "love spell," Maja bakes her pubic hair into a meat pie prepared just for Christian, and it's implied his drink has been infused with her menstrual blood.
    • The fertility ritual, in which a very drugged and not entirely consenting Christian has sex with Maja while surrounded by the cult's overly familiar and quite naked female members.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Christian's first reaction that Josh disobeyed the cult's orders, is to throw him under the bus and insist that he doesn't have any association with him. This is meant to cement him as a selfish, Dirty Coward who shows no concerns for the well-being of his friends. That being said, if you're the guest and one of your friends has angered the host, you too would not want to associate with that friend.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some complaints were that Dani's family drama (and her reaction to their deaths) wasn't fleshed out well enough in order to focus almost entirely on her relationship with Christian and his friends.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Regardless of the aformentioned Alternate Character Interpretation, Dani's recent trauma and Christian being such a distant boyfriend is clearly meant to earn her sympathy. However, for many viewers, most of that sympathy is lost the moment she chooses to execute the guy for "cheating" (when in fact he was drugged and raped by the members of the cult). The rest of the sympathy (and then some, for many being an outright Moral Event Horizon) is lost by the fact that, when she does it he's clearly so drugged up he can't even move or talk, and is wheelchair bound, which should have at least clued her in to the fact that something has been done to him. Moreover, despite also knowing that they kill outsiders, clearly saw that the cult was trying to put a spell on Christian and was actively encouraging his infidelity, and that they repeatedly refused to let her leave, she decides to join them anyway.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The very subtle CGI used to warp foliage, background objects and occasionally even characters' faces when Dani and the others are under the influence of hallucinogens. Ari Aster explained in a ''New York Times'' interview how the distortions actually increase with Dani's rising panic.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • All of Christian's party save for Dani show a remarkable lack of any survival instinct, with every member choosing to stay in the village after witnessing the violent ättestupa just for thesis material and (for Mark) the chance to score with some Swedish babes. By the time Christian willingly agrees to drink drugged tea after four other outsiders have mysteriously disappeared, he has crossed into another dimension of idiocy.
    • In spite of not even wanting Dani to come on the trip, Josh does not see fit to warn her of the meaning of "ättestupa" before bringing along a girl with severe anxiety—whose entire family, including her elderly parents, just died in a murder-suicide—to witness two violent senicides. Pelle shares some of this, too, although the fact he grew up with the tradition may explain why he didn't think it would be a problem.
    • Even Dani's reactions to everything seems only explainable by the debilitating effects of the drugs coupled with her existing trauma. Despite clearly seeing that the cult is actively encouraging Christian's infidelity, repeatedly refused to let her leave, and has killed every other outsider, she decides to take vengeance upon Christian and accepts the Hårga as her new home.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Vulture film critic Angelica Jade Bastién lambasted the film for a wide range of questionable statements she thought the film was making, particularly in the ending, which she saw as supporting Dani's murder of her boyfriend. She apparently forgot that portraying an action isn't necessarily an endorsement of that action. Just because the protagonist does it doesn't mean the film is saying that it should be done. After all, it's a horror film, and the villagers are the villains, making the ending less a didactic statement about gender politics and more of a Downer Ending where The Villain Wins in a horrifying way by manipulating a drugged and traumatized Anti-Hero. That said, considering even some of the tropes mentioned here (such as Draco in Leather Pants and Ron the Death Eater), some people have interpreted the film as fully supporting those actions, and evidently support them too, so whether Jade was entirely wrong or not is entirely up to interpretation too.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: There are several references to Sweden's liberal immigration system but, given the extreme actions of the Hårga, this may cross over with Space Whale Aesop.


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