A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown's fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing.Written by
The film was originally given an NC-17 by the MPAA. According to Ari Aster, around 30 minutes was cut from the final film mainly due to content. A director's cut is planned for the home video release. See more »
The Americans react to the sun being up late at night. The sun doesn't set until after 10.30 PM in the area around midsummer, but the lack of long shadows reveals that the scene does not take place in the late evening at 61° North but rather around noon at 47° North (Hungary). The film appears to be filmed in Utah which is around 42 degree N - instead of Sweden (which is 61 degree N) that would explain this discrepancy. See more »
The 171-minute Director's Cut restores 24 minutes of additional scenes that were not included in the original cut. The biggest chunk of new footage added, as director Ari Aster acknowledges, is the subplot of Christian researching for his anthropology thesis. The newly added footage is as follows:
1) In the party scene, Dani learns of the scheduled trip to Sweden and questions Christian's intentions. Christian gaslights (suggesting that she was not in her right state of mind) her after she had indirectly ruined the surprise of a romantic invite. The gaslight moment is repeated again in the final additional scene later after the special ceremony. This new scene also shows that he is ill-prepared, which sets up his confrontation with Mark later.
2) In the extended the car ride to Halsingland, Dani asks Josh about the book he's reading and she's told to ask Pelle. Pelle tells her that Christian was brainwashed when he found him. This hints the characteristics of the characters throughout the film: Mark (going along for the ride) ; Dani (tired and depressed); Pelle (manipulative and the mastermind of the secret plan); Josh (passive); Christian (naive)
3) The subplot of Christian's anthropological research is put back and is evident in several scenes of him interacting with Pelle's commune. The subplot reveals two things: Pelle and his commune are well aware from the beginning that he can be easily be manipulated, proven by Maja's attempt to seduce him and his grisly fate at the end; it also reveals that his research is merely a self-serving and misguided attempt to make himself better.
4) After the ritual suicide of the two 72 year-old natives (as to mark the end of the circle of life), Dani is invited to see a special ceremony of a young boy, dressed as tree, volunteered for another ritual. Declaring himself "what's brave is going home" the boy is about to be thrown into a body of water, which horrifies her again. At the last minute, he is let go, having proved his bravery.
5) Immediately after the "special scene", Dani converses with Christian about what she saw. Christian, too focused on his anthropological research, gaslights her again. Soon thereafter, she asks for a sleeping pill before he is targeted by the natives.
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)
Performed by Frankie Valli
Written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe
Published by Seasons Four Music (BMI) and EMI Longitude Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company / The Four Seasons Partnership
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
This film is visually beautiful - almost stunning, and yet all that beauty almost lulls you to sleep. At the 58-minute mark I literally nodded off. Thankfully, it was just compelling enough that I chose to stay awake.
I am so glad I did. Or am I? As one reviewer already put it, it is "traumatic" and even though it is slow-going, it is well worth the almost inexplicable payoff.
It will haunt you, in that long after it is over you will think back on it.
What a mind F.
I'll say no more.
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