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Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Well I feel if they were going to be sacrificed anyway regardless, then they didn't need to give them stupidity to hasten their fates. In fact, not giving them the stupidity would make you feel more empathy for them, but by making the characters stupid, especially them not wanting to leave, you don't really.

I understand that the protagonist is in a bad emotional state, but they do not give her anything to work with other than the crying. She has no goal, or arc really. She's just an empty character I thought. Plus her boyfriend seemed drugged into doing the sex, and he didn't seem to be all there and new all of what he was doing, until later on through the sex, where the drugs wore off and he realizes what has happened, and he freaks out and runs.

Now if the genders this were reversed and a female character was drugged into having sex, and her boyfriend burned her to death as her punishment, audiences would react very differently. So it feels like a double standard.



Welcome to the human race...
Maybe you're not meant to feel too much empathy for them in the first place, though. Even before they arrive, the guys treat Pugh's character as a burden who they reluctantly bring along in light of her going through the tragedy that is losing her whole family and nobody really wants her there. Besides, at least they're given motivations that make at least some sense like being anthropology students who get to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event and potentially write a career-making thesis about it - consider how the characters in The Thing do not burn the Thing corpse they find at the beginning because "it's going to win the Nobel prize", which makes sense given how they are research scientists. In any case, I don't get the impression that the movie is trying to treat the boyfriend's drug-rape as some sort of karmic punishment for being a negligent partner so much as it is a matter of the cult managing to kill two birds with one stone - coercing the boyfriend into helping their isolated cult reproduce and finally brainwashing the already-vulnerable Pugh into effectively joining their cult once and for all. Maybe people misinterpret the ending as a happy one where she stops being sad because she finds a new home after losing her original family and punishes her boyfriend for his shortcomings, but if anything it strikes me as an extra disturbing one where the cult really does win and she doesn't realise it under how screwed up she's been over the course of the movie. In that sense, the goal/arc of Pugh's character is to recover from the trauma she suffers at the beginning of the film but it's subversive in how the way she finally does so is in a way that means she ends up playing right into the hands of a creepy death cult. One could argue the same is true of Hereditary where the only way for the son to overcome his own guilt and trauma is by letting himself be wholly possessed by a demon king.

Man, I wrote a lot to defend a movie I didn't even like.
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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



looks okay movie
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Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Maybe you're not meant to feel too much empathy for them in the first place, though. Even before they arrive, the guys treat Pugh's character as a burden who they reluctantly bring along in light of her going through the tragedy that is losing her whole family and nobody really wants her there. Besides, at least they're given motivations that make at least some sense like being anthropology students who get to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event and potentially write a career-making thesis about it - consider how the characters in The Thing do not burn the Thing corpse they find at the beginning because "it's going to win the Nobel prize", which makes sense given how they are research scientists. In any case, I don't get the impression that the movie is trying to treat the boyfriend's drug-rape as some sort of karmic punishment for being a negligent partner so much as it is a matter of the cult managing to kill two birds with one stone - coercing the boyfriend into helping their isolated cult reproduce and finally brainwashing the already-vulnerable Pugh into effectively joining their cult once and for all. Maybe people misinterpret the ending as a happy one where she stops being sad because she finds a new home after losing her original family and punishes her boyfriend for his shortcomings, but if anything it strikes me as an extra disturbing one where the cult really does win and she doesn't realise it under how screwed up she's been over the course of the movie. In that sense, the goal/arc of Pugh's character is to recover from the trauma she suffers at the beginning of the film but it's subversive in how the way she finally does so is in a way that means she ends up playing right into the hands of a creepy death cult. One could argue the same is true of Hereditary where the only way for the son to overcome his own guilt and trauma is by letting himself be wholly possessed by a demon king.

Man, I wrote a lot to defend a movie I didn't even like.
But if I am not suppose to feel empathy for them or care, then what I am supposed to feel? If I am do not care, then how am I suppose to like the movie if that makes sense?

Also, if the ending is not to be interpreted as getting revenge on your bf for drugged sex with another, ending, why did they even bother with the drugged sex subplot then? It must have been there for some reason then, so how is one not suppose to interpret the ending this way? Otherwise I don't see the point of the subplot then.

As for Pugh's character being screwed up and that is why she becomes crazy at the end, I just didn't really feel it in the character though. The character seems sane, then stupid for sticking around, then all of a sudden insane. The changes just didn't feel gradual to me. It feels like she was a complete pawn of the writer's pen, so to speak, that the filmmakers wanted her to be whatever they wanted her to be at the given moment, at least to me. I think it's because I didn't by her reason for wanting to stick around in the first place, so when you don't buy that, then every decision she makes after is not believable to me as a result.



Welcome to the human race...
It's a horror movie, though - you only have to care about the characters to the point of wondering who will get to make it through the film (or how far they get before dying or suffering a sufficiently terrible fate), which doesn't necessarily extend to making the characters themselves likeable. To use the obvious point of comparison, take The Wicker Man. The protagonist has a noble goal of trying to find and rescue a missing child but his sanctimonious nature doesn't make him an overly likeable character to the point where you almost side with the villains of the piece for messing with him. While you obviously go into Midsommar expecting the characters to fall victim to the cult, what matters is that you understand where they're coming from.

They do point out in the film that the point of drugging the boyfriend is to impregnate one of the cult members so as to keep the cult's bloodlines diverse in order to avoid inbreeding, so that's the reason for that (and why it gets ritualised so heavily with all the naked women standing around and watching).

Pugh's character is meant to be a passive presence at first and she's not "stupid" for staying - as noted, she's been through such a traumatic event that she is clinging to her only remaining human connection in the form of her boyfriend and is also being subtly manipulated first by the group's Swedish friend and then eventually by the rest of the cult. The only real issue is that there never really seems like there's any hope for escape, but at least it's somewhat consistent.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Oh okay, I just didn't get the feeling that there was no hope of escape since the main character or the boyfriend didn't even attempt. If they attempted and failed then I would see no hope more. But as for her being through such a traumatic event, which is what causes her to not make the best decisions, there are other movies with characters who have been through traumatic events, where their decisions were still plausible and more rational I found. The protagonist in the movie The Descent for example, lost her family, but I still found her making better decisions than this protagonist, but that's just me.

But as for the explanation as to why they drugged the boyfriend into impregnating the woman, being to avoid inbreeding, they could have used any of the other American male characters to do this, yet they chose him. So it seems to me by choosing him, the filmmakers were trying to make some sort of revenge for drugged and co-erced cheating statement. If they were not trying to make such a statement, they wouldn't have chosen his character for that plotpoint I don't think.

But as for her character making the decisions to stay because she suffered a truamatic event, the other characters did not suffer traumatic events and they had chances to leave but they did not take them. So I didn't think they had an excuse for dumb behavior to stick around therefore.



Welcome to the human race...
Yeah, there's only so much I could defend the protagonist's passivity, though it arguably helps that the film spends so much time focusing on the other characters to make up for it. Still, everyone processes trauma differently regardless of how "plausible" their reactions might seem in terms of pure distant logic. It's why I brought up The Thing and how the characters choose to keep the Thing corpse even after recovering it from a burned-out station where the previous occupants were missing, dead, or seemingly insane.

I think they choose the boyfriend over the other male characters for other reasons as well - he is a more physically gifted specimen than Will Poulter's character and it's implied that the cult is racist enough to want to keep their bloodlines fully white so they don't pick William Jackson Harper's character. Even if it is simply a matter of giving Pugh's character the desire to get revenge, we as the audience are given more information than she is by design so that we understand how the boyfriend has been manipulated but how all she sees is the boyfriend having sex with another woman (and, as I noted earlier, this is arguably done by the cult on purpose so as to get her to side with them against the boyfriend, who they were planning on killing anyway)

And, as noted, I don't consider the decision to stay an impossibly stupid and illogical one given what we know about the characters. I think it also helps that the film does have two outsiders who try to leave as soon as the cliff jump happens who then disappear immediately so you realise pretty quickly that there's no point in running away (and the main characters even consider that option but still decide that staying will ultimately be worth it - for comparison's sake, consider the protagonist of Don't Breathe having to perpetually choose between escaping the house and its murderous homeowner or trying to steal his money in order to set up a new life for her and her kid sister away from their abusive stepfather).



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Oh okay, but I thought that in Don't Breathe the money was worth the risk more, where as in Midsommar, there was no pay off to the risk of staying I felt in comparison.

I also read that some people appreciate the ending because they felt it made sense that the main character is finally being accepted into a culture that promotes her queen, because it means she has finally found people that accept her. But I didn't see it that way at all, because since this cult manipulated her killing her boyfriend, the cult's behavior was more like "haha we tricked you", and it seemed more like she was a pawn to them, rather than an accepted Queen.



The film is beautifully shot, Florence Pugh is great, and you get the hint that there might be a "better" film underneath the surface, but overall, I thought the film was a mess. The more I think of it, the less I like it.
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Welcome to the human race...
Oh okay, but I thought that in Don't Breathe the money was worth the risk more, where as in Midsommar, there was no pay off to the risk of staying I felt in comparison.

I also read that some people appreciate the ending because they felt it made sense that the main character is finally being accepted into a culture that promotes her queen, because it means she has finally found people that accept her. But I didn't see it that way at all, because since this cult manipulated her killing her boyfriend, the cult's behavior was more like "haha we tricked you", and it seemed more like she was a pawn to them, rather than an accepted Queen.
I also think she's just so emotionally co-dependent at that point (especially between the figurative isolation of losing her family and the literal isolation of being in some commune in the middle of a foreign country) that she's not about to push against the others' wish to stay. I guess the "pay-off" in this scenario is getting to stay with her only source of emotional stability at that point in time, which is what makes her vulnerable to the cult's machinations that involve them trying driving a wedge between her and the boyfriend.

I do think you're right about the ending - I already said as much about it earlier.



Wow, what a creepy movie. If nothing else, Ari Aster is the king of creepiness. This film had an emotional claustrophobia despite the fact that is takes place outside in the summer. Not a big fan of this movie. I definitely liked Heraditary better. Still I hated the ending of both films. I thought the mom in Heraditary going all possessed was overkill in the way they did it. the rest of the movie was more psychological and I expected something like that in the ending. I hated the end of Midsommar cause I really felt how trapped the outsiders were. Too trapped if you ask me. It might have helped if they had some hope but that is taken away from the beginning. Just an all around creep fest. I don't ever want to watch another Ari Aster movie after seeing these. But that has less to do with any flaws it has as a horror film. and more to do with its success. It creeped me out.
3/5