An Obsessive Midsommar Scene Analysis, or, I Need Help (2022)

Okay, here’s that super-fanatical scene analysis I’ve been threatening you with, because I’ve been rewatching the arrival-in-the-meadow scene, and it might actually now be one of my favorites just because of how much is going on in it, on such a subtle, subtle level.

All of what I’m about to say is predicated on my interpretation of the Dani/Pelle dynamic as utterly pre-planned; Pelle is into Dani, and bringing her to Sweden to join the family was his intention all along. Providing evidence for that is a whole other post (though I’m happy to explain my reasoning in the notes), but I’m just taking that for granted here.

It is LONG, so be aware before you reblog. Forgive me, Father, for I have almost certainly read too much into some of this to indulge my Dani/Pelle mania, but it’s all part of the fun. Now, if you’d like to go with me on this crazy train…

(Screenshots and gifs [except for the car scene screenshots] were provided by the lovely amy-amell!)

In my opinion, the interesting stuff starts with the Pelle/Ingemar reunion…

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Pelle is clearly genuinely happy to see Ingemar, but he’s pretty performative here–this little bow and his “just one second,” is basically a cue, like “watch this, look at this loving bond I have with this guy.”

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Dani is the first American to come into the frame as we turn toward Ingemar and Pelle. She’s the “babe” that Viking Pelle has “dragged over” to Sweden, and Connie is Ingemar’s, each of them positioned behind the Hårga man who brought her. But Dani is alone, whereas Connie is intertwined with Simon; Dani is looking at Pelle and Ingemar, but Connie only has eyes for Simon. You’ve already lost her, Ingemar.

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Then Christian appears in the frame, but with a huge gap of space between him and Dani. Quite a contrast with the other couple, Connie and Simon. And what else is in that gap? Pelle and Ingemar embracing–the family. The actually happy/healthy relationship (Connie and Simon) plus Pelle and Ingemar (the family) come between Dani and Christian literally here in a way they figuratively do later–Connie and Simon’s engagement provides a galling comparison with the unhappy Dani and Christian, while the love among the members of Pelle’s family also shows Dani the flaws in her bond with Christian. Christian spends a good amount of time half cut-off by the edge of the frame before moving fully into it. He’s half-removed. (And will literally be cut in half later–or so it’s implied–to be fitted inside the bear carcass. This might be one of those over-reads, though…)

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Pelle and Ingemar exchange a number of SIGNIFICANT LOOKS in this scene, which we know is a way that the Hårgafolk communicate. This one is just cute, “best friends since we were babies.” I also notice that, during this cluster of scenes before they reach the village, Dani and Pelle are often shot as overlapping each other, as though touching or phasing into each other. It happens most obviously in the deleted scene in the car, originally just before this scene:

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Now, the next part of the meadow scene is one of the most salient ones, to me…

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Ingemar repeats the names of all the people Pelle has just introduced, going in order of his left to his right, only he skips Dani for seemingly no reason, saving her name for last and coyly saying, as though unsure, “…Dani?” Y’all. Ingemar knows exactly who Dani is, of course. Pelle’s best friend has very much been filled in about Pelle’s dragged-over babe, as has the entire family. This is a tease for Pelle’s benefit, and Pelle finds it pretty amusing, as his reaction is basically to turn to Ingemar like, “Aw, you scamp.” If you watch carefully, you will also see Pelle and Ingemar making very swift eye contact in another SIGNIFICANT LOOK. Like, “Yep, this is her all right. My Viking spoils.”

Now let’s BREAK THIS DOWN EVEN FURTHER, IN FOR A PENNY, IN FOR A POUND:

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Ingemar’s eyes turn to Dani before he’s even finished saying Mark’s name or pointing to him. (Lol at his mischievous expression, also.)

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And then some serious mirroring between Pelle and Ingemar while Ingemar coyly names Dani: both heads cocked, both leaning toward her. It is also very cute and I love it.

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Here’s the SIGNIFICANT LOOK between Pelle and Ingemar after Dani’s name. It actually looks a lot more significant in motion, as Ingemar’s eyes dart very pointedly toward Pelle and then away again.

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And then when Ingemar introduces Connie, we get ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT LOOK between Ingemar and Pelle. “Yep, now here’s my dragged-back babe.”

Now here’s another very salient moment:

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Ingemar brings out the mushrooms, and he addresses himself almost exclusively to Dani. The first several words are spoken directly to her as he moves towards her. He looks away a few times but then keeps coming back to her. Pelle sneaks an impish glance at Dani as this is happening, hiding it with a scratch to his head.

I read this as a pretty strong overture of inclusion directed toward Dani, which Ingemar will repeat a few times later in this scene and the next. Not only do they want her to get high so she’s in a more impressionable state, but they want her to feel special, wanted, attended to. And Ingemar’s laying it on pretty thick. (So is Pelle, with his cute“ooh” in the background.) The others are secondary. (Ingemar doesn’t look at Christian at all.) Dani’s the important one, the one the entire family is seducing. And it’s already working: Dani steps toward Ingemar a little before changing her mind and hanging back again.

Mark’s like gimme.

Here’s the same thing, tighter in on Pelle and Ingemar:

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YOU THINK YOU’RE SLICK, PELLE, HIDING THAT MISCHIEVOUS GLANCE BEHIND A HEAD-SCRATCH AND THEN A DORKY SMILE.

Very interesting that this whole part of the scene is shot from behind Dani. Puts the viewer almost-but-not-quite in Dani’s shoes. We’re getting the full brunt of these overtures just like she is.

So then the camera angle shifts as Dani initially says she wants to wait to do the mushrooms…

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Pelle gives Dani another sideways glance, longer this time, his smile dimming a little as a cannier look briefly appears. Ingemar, too, is watching Dani, his attention much less screened (because he can just be a nice new acquaintance whose niceness won’t be misinterpreted as romantic interest).

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As Dani and Christian begin quibbling about the mushrooms, Connie and Simon excuse themselves and wander off, and Ingemar watches them for a super long time.

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His body is angled so that he could be looking at something else, but other than the person in white (and why would he be staring at a random family member?) there’s nothing else for him to look at other than the happy couple. Creepy, sad, Ingemar. [ETA: After more viewings, I am actually not so sure that Ingemar isn’t staring at the person in white and doing long-distance nonverbal communication with that person. Bit of both maybe? Josh clearly makes not of how still that distant person-in-white is being, as you can see in the following screenshots…]

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And as Dani and Christian say they’re gonna wait to take the shrooms, Ingemar and Pelle exchange ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT LOOK.

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Aaaaaand Ingemar’s back to staring creepily after Simon and Connie as Mark objects.

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As Dani looks around in the awkward silence, Pelle shoots her a little smile before dropping his gaze to the ground.

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And as Dani capitulates to taking the mushrooms now, Pelle smiles at her, and so does Ingemar, his attention back to the matter at hand–gettin’ Dani high.

And as Mark is being a dick, Ingemar steps in to continue his solicitousness directly toward Dani…

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Ingemar comes in real close, attention pointedly honed to Dani, to offer her some mushroom tea, which tastes better–an offer not extended to anyone else, let alone to Christian, who’s right there. Christian, meanwhile, makes a stark contrast to Ingemar, turning away with an impatient frown while Ingemar hovers over Dani with a smile. This near-stranger is more concerned for Dani’s comfort than her boyfriend is. And she’s so sweet, mirroring his body language by leaning in toward Ingemar, looking up into his face, making an effort to pronounce his name correctly. What a sweet baby angel. 😭

Later, Ingemar will repeat this friendly hover when Dani’s trip turns bad, making a total of three times in this setting where he approaches her with the object of welcoming or comforting her.

In conclusion, THESE SWEDISH BOYS ARE SCHEMING. THEY WILL DRAG YOUR BABES BACK TO SWEDEN WITH THEIR PRE-PLANNED ATTENTIVENESS AND THEIR WORDLESS, EMPATHETIC COMMUNICATION.

Did I miss anything? Am I dead wrong? Tell me, friends–as you can tell, I could literally talk about this all day, every day.

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