Midsommar Movie Poster

Trivia for Midsommar

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  • Ari Aster's visual references for his Scandinavian folk horror are Black Narcissus (1947), Hard to Be a God (2013), Macbeth (1971), and Tess (1979).
  • William Jackson Harper is the only American actor in the film. Jack Reynor, although born in Colorado, is Irish, Florence Pugh is English, and Will Poulter is English. All other supporting actors are either Swedish, British, or Hungarian.
  • Production for the film was announced immediately after Hereditary (2018) was released.
  • Despite sharing the same title and being horror movies set in Sweden, this film and the Danish cult classic "Midsummer (2003)" are not related.
  • This film was greenlit on May 18, 2018, and premiered on June 18, 2019, marking an unusually short production period for a wide-release theatrical film.
  • Jack Reynor and Will Poulter also starred together in Glassland (2014) and Detroit (2017).
  • Mark displays an extreme phobia of ticks, which is based on Ari Aster's real-life fear of bugs and illness. Like Mark, Aster wore two pairs of socks over his jeans to ensure he would not receive bug bites.
  • Despite the film taking place entirely in sunlight, it does not contain one shot of the sun. The film's trailer contained one shot of the sun. A shot of the sun has been reinserted in the director's cut of the film.
  • 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. The director's cut released shortly after its theatrical run restores this footage.
  • Despite the Swedish setting, the film was mostly shot in Hungary.
  • In the script, Dani and her friends all live in New York and her parents live in Minnesota. All of the US scenes are filmed in Utah.
  • This is the fifth A24 film to be released nationwide without a platform release prior. The others were The Witch (2016), Free Fire (2017), It Comes At Night (2017), and Hereditary (2018).
  • Most of the Swedish dialogue spoken by the Hårga natives is deliberately not subtitled, in order to create the sense of isolation for the audience and especially for the foreign visitors.
  • Early in the film, the college men are seated in the bar under a massive reproduction of the infamous Sophia Loren-Jayne Mansfield 'wardrobe malfunction' photo.
  • Florence Pugh appeared in two different 2019 movies in which her character wears a flower crown in significant scenes. As Amy March in Little Women (2019), she and other characters wore them during Meg's wedding. As Dani Ardor in Midsommar, she and multiple characters wore them in ritual contexts. The main movie poster and emblematic image for Midsommar depicts Pugh in extreme close-up, wearing a flower crown and crying.
  • When the film was released in Sweden, rather than eliciting fear in the audience, many people laughed. Many Swedish critics praised the film as an excellent black comedy.
  • Much to the chagrin of Swedish horror fans, the film was not released during midsummer in Sweden, but a few weeks afterwards.
  • Ariana Grande is a fan of the film, calling it one of her favorite films of 2019. She tried (and failed) to buy the May Queen Gown used in the film at an auction. She also threw a Midsommar-themed birthday party for herself on her 27th birthday.
  • The practice of ättestupa is effectively a myth. As depicted, the elderly were expected to sacrifice for the good of the village, maintaining efficiency. However the original source of the story is a 13th century Icelandic account in Gautreks saga and supposed ättestupas in Norway and Scandinavia have all been proven to have been only referred to as such by 18th and 19th century historians with no prior references to any such practices save Gautreks saga. Most serious historians consider the story a reflection of the Icelandic medieval tradition of depicting Swedes as barbarous on account of them converting to Christianity a century later than Iceland.

Spoilers

  • Director's Trademark: Both of Ari Aster's feature-length films so far have included gruesome shots of bashed-in faces, cults, old people in the nude and explorations of grief and relationships.
  • During the meal where meat pies are served, Christian has a glass of reddish juice while everyone else has yellow juice. An image earlier in the film suggests that this may be because his drink has been spiked with menstrual blood.
  • In Dani's nightmare, she opens her mouth to scream and a cloud of black smoke pours out, mirroring the death of her parents and specifically her sister, who inhaled the exhaust from a car directly into her mouth.
  • Early in the film, Simon sees a group of kids playing and asks Pelle what they are doing. Pelle explains that they are playing "Skin the fool". During the sacrifice scene at the end of the film, Mark's skinned and mutilated body is carried into the temple with a jester's hat atop his head. The kids game may have been derived from the actual practice of "skinning the fool" for the Mid-summer sacrifice.
  • When Josh sneaks away to photograph pictures of the 'Rubi Radr' holy book, he thinks that he sees Mark standing in the doorway of the temple: it is in fact Ulf (the man who screamed at Mark for urinating on the ancestral tree) wearing Mark's skin. (This is confirmed by the screenplay). Earlier Mark had asked Josh if he thought that Ulf was going to kill him for urinating on the tree. Though it happens off-screen, this is exactly what happens.
  • Simon's fate is based on a Viking ritualised execution method called blood eagle, in which victims were placed in a prone position, their ribs severed from the spine with a sharp tool, and their lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of "wings". The victim would supposedly be alive and conscious through the process and not die until sometime after (likely from blood loss). As such, when Christian finds him, Simon is still breathing, though barely, if at all, conscious. As he was a part of the sacrifice, he does die sometime between Christian finding him and the final ritual: it can even be argued he died while Christian was there since he only breathes once or twice during the scene. Simon being alive and breathing when Christian finds him, however, is highly improbable due to the fact that the lungs require the diaphragm to expand the lungs to inhale air.
  • When Christian is waiting to speak with Siv in her house, he studies a piece of wallpaper with the image of a burning bear on it. This foreshadows his eventual demise at the end of the film where, during a ritual in the yellow building, he is placed inside a disembowled bear, set in the middle of the eight other human sacrifices, and burned alive.
  • In Dani's apartment, there is a painting of a bear and a woman wearing a crown hanging over her bed. This is the painting "Stackars Basse" by Swedish painter John Bauer, famous for his art based on Swedish folklore and mythological creatures.
  • Throughout the film, Dani hallucinates the plant life interacting with her and growing into her. This foreshadows her eventual decision to join the community at the end of the film. Additionally, her interaction/growth with plants gets more pronounced as the film progresses. Notable examples include the tuft of grass growing through her hand; the grass consuming her feet; the vines on her throne reacting to the movement of her arms; the flowers in her crown "breathing" in sync with her; and in the final scene, the dress and crown made entirely of flowers (signaling her complete engulfment by the community).
  • Midsommar's feast turns around the number 9: the complete ritual lasts for nine days, in which nine lives are sacrificed to purify all the town. In addition, Pelle explains to Dani and the rest of the newcomers that the cycle of life conceived by Hårga's people marks at 18 years the end of childhood (9x2), of youth at 36 (9x4), of maturity at 54 (9x6), and of the aged and the end of life at 72 (9x8). In addition, the feast itself is celebrated every 90 years (9x10), implying that each one of the sacrificed equal 10 years of purity for Hårga's people. Even the feast's name, Midsommar, has 9 letters. Also, at the beginning of the movie, when Dani leaves a message for her parents, the answering machine number counts up to 9 before it leaves the frame. The importance of 9 derives from the old myth of Odin, father of all Norse gods, who was hung up upside down for nine days in Yggdrasil, Tree of World, in order to bring knowledge to the world, creating Futhark, Runes' language.
  • When Dani and her friends arrive at Hårga's, Christian jokes about "meet the Davidians Sect". It refers to the infamous sect lead by David Koresh that in February 1993, after a siege of 51 days between the Davidians and law enforcement in Waco, Texas, resulted in the Davidians compound caught on fire as law enforcement attempted to breach the building. 76 people died and very few of the davidians survived.
  • Dani and Christian show very little affection towards each other in the movie, due to their distant feelings. Through the whole runtime of the theatrical release, they don't even kiss each other. The director's cut, however, contains a scene in which they kiss.
  • After the sex scene, Christian was supposed to run away in the robe that he had entered in. Jack Reynor himself suggested that Christian run out completely nude to appear more vulnerable: thus he appears fully nude when trying to escape. Reynor was inspired by having recently watched The Last House on the Left (1972): like many films in the horror genre, female characters are disrobed, humiliated, and/or assaulted before their demise. He felt it was due time that male characters be made to suffer similar indignation.
  • The opening mural, from left to right, foreshadows the events of the entire film and provides clues pertaining to the contrasting fates of Dani and Christian. Looking closely, it reveals Pelle as the mastermind behind the invitation to visit Hårga. When the visitors reached the village, Connie and Simon examine a tapestry that shows a woman falling in love with a man, placing flowers under his pillow, and then hiding her pubic hair in his food--resulting in the man's falling in love with and impregnating her. This tapestry exactly forecasts what Maja will do to Christian before and during the May Queen celebrations.
  • Toward the end of the film, when Dani is lifted onto the pedestal to be carried to the dinner table, a viewer can make out her sister's face in the trees with an exhaust tube in her mouth.
  • Pelle mentions that Maja has just become "byxmyndig". This is Swedish slang for the age of consent, which is 15 in Sweden. Isabelle Grill, who plays Maja, was 20 years old when the movie was filmed.
  • Despite being the main characters and with the exception of cries and screams, neither Dani nor Christian speak in the last twenty-five minutes.
  • When all the main characters are talking in the apartment about the Sweden trip, beside Christian on the fridge is a framed picture of Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz (1939). Scarecrow was afraid of fire as he was made of straw and would burn quickly. This either foreshadows Christian's fate of burning alive surrounded by straw and bodies arranged like scarecrows, or Mark's fate of being skinned and turned into a straw doll.
  • Shortly before the group arrives at Harga they drive under a yellow banner saying HÄLSINGLAND (the province of Sweden where Harga is located). It looks like an ordinary greeting sign. However, in fine print, the banner also says: "Stop mass-migration to HÄLSINGLAND. Vote for a Free North this fall."
  • During the climax of the movie, one of the elders of Harga has Dani choose between Christian or a randomly-picked community member to be sacrificed at the final day of the Midsommar festival. The method they use to randomly pick the member is a lottery ball machine, much like a famous short story known as 'The Lottery' which revolves around sacrificing a community member so that a society can continue to flourish.
  • Connie's corpse, being wheeled in a barrow into the shrine with all of the others, appears to be wet and bloated. This insinuates that the villagers drowned her in a nearby lake after they had killed Simon. This is further confirmed in the Director's Cut, where a boy is almost sacrificed by drowning in a lake by the villagers while wearing a sacrificial robe--the same robe that Connie's corpse is wearing.
  • According to Ari Aster, Pelle was the villager that bludgeoned Josh to death with the hammer after he was caught taking pictures of the book.
  • During the sacrifice at the end of the film, Ingmer and Ulf are given dew from the 'Yew' tree. As they are fed this dew, Ulf is told, "Feel no pain," and Ingmer told, "Feel no fear." As the building burns and the fire inches closer to them, Ingmer looks at Ulf with fear, and Ulf gazes back before the fire engulfs him and he starts to wail in pain. This could possibly indicate that at the last moment both Ingmer and Ulf realize that everything they've been told is a lie, but are unable to do anything about it and unfortunately die without being able to warn others.
  • At the beginning of the movie, when the camera shows the Ardor residence and Dani's parents dying in their sleep from Terri's suicide, you can clearly see a laurel-like arrangement of flowers laid on a picture of a young girl, presumably Dani as a child. This foreshadows Dani being crowned the May Queen of Hårga during the Midsommar festivities.
  • The entire film takes place in sunlight, save for three scenes. The first is the opening prologue where Dani finds out her sister has killed their family in a murder-suicide, the second is during Dani's dream and the third is where Josh sneaks into the shrine to secretly take pictures of the book. More scenes taking place at night were re-inserted into the Director's Cut.
  • When Christian is being prepared to the sacrifice, the villagers put him a bear suit similar to Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man (2006), other movie about a pagan cult involved with human sacrifices. Oddly enough, Cage's movie is a remake of The Wicker Man (1973), that it's considered the basis for all the later movies about pagan cults with human sacrifices, including Midsommar.
  • Jack Reynor's character is named Christian, who plots to write a thesis about Hårga's pagan cult. Ironically, he ends dead in the final ritual, being the "christian" killed by the "pagan".
  • Following the Attestupa sequence, Simon and Connie are seen leaving separately and then later killed off-camera (Connie by drowning and Simon via the Blood-Eagle ritual). While it is explained that Simon and Connie were killed by the Hargas as part of the Midsommar ceremony, it is also probable that they were killed in order to prevent them from exposing the Harga community's practices of ritual suicide and sacrifice.
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