Midsommar ★★★★

Though not as solid and terrifying as his first feature Hereditary, Ari Aster proves his audacious directorial command with Midsommar, an ambitious, horrific, black comedy-breakup movie with a commanding lead performance from Florence Pugh. Grief is one of Mr. Aster’s favorite themes, and he conjures yet another sickening backstory for his heroine—and again his leads suffer in relentlessly devastating situations. However, Midsommar fights back as the lead character Dani (Pugh) makes up for a revenge of a lifetime.

Midsommar is sprawling with big, bold ideas and Aster proves that he’s up for this challenge. However, some of his characterizations might feel a bit lazy and forced. For instance, the choice of having a physically deformed character (which was used in Hereditary) to convey evilness is certainly a head-scratcher. But other than that, it’s a visual feast of a movie both figuratively and literally. I have issues with the ending, partly because it feels as if it is trying too hard for the character to have a cathartic release—but it didn’t work for me as it did in Hereditary. Florence Pugh is sensational in the role, and 2019 is becoming her banner year in the movies. Overall, even if I had issues with Midsommar, it’s still a good film with inspired storytelling and visually impactful imagery. Ari Aster is a breakthrough force in contemporary horror.

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