Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ Director’s Cut Adds Depth, Not Scares, To His Beautiful Fairy Tale Nightmare [Review]

The Playlist | 8/20/2019 | Joe Blessing
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It’s not usually a good sign when people begin whispering about a director’s cut of a film while the original is still in theaters, but luckily, when Ari Aster took the stage at Lincoln Center’s Scary Movies XII to introduce his director’s cut of “Midsommar,” he explained that the extended running time is what prevented him and A24 from releasing this version in theaters. Aster’s director’s cut, coming in at 171 minutes, as opposed to the theatrical version’s 147 (he teased/threatened the audience by mentioned a four hour work cut), does not reorient the story or provide more outrageous violence or scares, but rather, it provides a more complete picture of the twisted fairy tale. Accordingly, this version is unlikely to convert viewers who disliked the film in theaters, but fans will delight in the added detail and immersion in the sun-drenched yet sinister commune of Hårga.

“Midsommar” centers on Dani (Florence Pugh), a young woman who loses her family in one tragic stroke and only has her hapless grad student boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) for support. Christian had been planning to dump Dani but is unable to after the tragedy and instead invites her on a trip to Sweden he had been hiding from her. As the couple travels with fellow grad students Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) to their friend Pelle’s (Vilhelm Blomgren) rural Swedish hometown, Dani’s complete alienation from her home and Christian becomes painfully obvious, just as the native Hårgans welcome her into a much more intimate and purposeful family, albeit one with slightly different values and slightly darker rituals.

Cut - Film - Spoilers - Warning

It’s difficult to talk about the new cut of the film without mentioning spoilers, so consider this your warning.

Aster’s director’s cut makes it more apparent that “Midsommar” is far more a fairy tale than a...
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