What the Hell Are You Watching?!: Midsommar with Kyle Anderson

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1 Response

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    You guys appear to have seriously misunderstood the nature of the cults (and thus the plots) of both this and The Wicker Man. In both cases their rituals depend upon what we would consider premeditated unprovoked murders. The victims are not interlopers punished for their intolerance of the cults, their deaths were planned before they did anything. Howie was sent the note about Rowan Morrison disappearing to get him to the island, and she was kept hidden from him so he would remain there until it was time to sacrifice him in order to obtain a good harvest. The islanders are focused on their gain rather than his punishment. And he is “tempted” while he’s there, he just doesn’t give in to temptation. Midsommar makes this even more explicit: they require nine sacrifices total, with four being villagers, four being outsiders, and the last to be chosen by the May Queen. The English couple who try to leave didn’t actually do anything the villagers objected to, but their role was to be sacrifices and that’s why they weren’t allowed to leave. The only person whose fate wasn’t already pre-set was Christian (and the villager chosen by lottery to be his possible replacement). In both cases it seems like you’re starting with some sympathetic aspects of the cult compared to unsympathetic aspects of (some of) the victims and then constructing a moral justification for their karmic punishments that the texts of the films don’t really support.

    Christian isn’t a monster, he’s just lame. Ari Aster intentionally wrote the film so audience members could recall being in his or Dani’s position. Christian just falls far short of what Dani needs when she’s at her lowest, which is salient for us when he watch the film from her perspective. It’s her desperation that results in the extreme imbalance between them rather than something he tries to maintain. He’s a very passive character, with even his boldest move of dickery (stealing Josh’s thesis idea) executed in a passive-aggressive manner by going behind his back to require a collaboration. You mentioned the incident with mushrooms, and it’s worth noting there that he does what he thinks is expected of a good boyfriend by choosing to wait and take them with Dani instead of with his friends. It’s Mark who complains about them not all tripping in sync, to which Christian replies that Mark has the option of waiting as well. When Dani then changes her mind, Christian again tells her she doesn’t have to. You can argue he’s still passively guilting her into going earlier than she’d like because she knows he doesn’t want to wait, but again this is something Dani is doing because of her dysfunctional relationship with Christian rather than something he insisted on.

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