Midsommar Explained - Questions and Theories (2022)

Midsommar Explained - Questions and Theories (1)By Rosie Fletcher | |

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Ari Aster’s latest horrorfest Midsommar is out now. It’s rich, gorgeous, lucid nightmare of a movie (check out our review) packed with shocks and images you can’t unsee. It also requires a little bit of unpicking and left us with several questions.

Like many excellent but mysterious movies, not all the answers are clear. Instead we’ve come up with a bunch of things that made us scratch our heads and a range of points that, frankly, we just really want to talk about. We’ve come up with our own theories about what might have happened and what they might mean. We’d love to hear your thoughts too, let us know what you made of all this in the comments section.

And needless to say, this article will be packed with spoilers from the get-go so if you’ve not seen the movie – move along! Not least because if you’ve not seen it, the article likely won’t make a lick of sense anyway…

Midsommar Explained - Questions and Theories (2)

Why did Dani put Christian in the bear?

This looks like a very straightforward one at first glance: she puts him in the bear because he’s a massive dick. But let’s break it down a little further though. Dani isn’t crazy and although Christian is a terrible boyfriend it’s quite the leap to put him in a bear and burn him. Yes, she witnessed him sleeping with another girl, but by that point that’s surely the least of the horrors she’s witnessed that week, and to be fair, that wasn’t entirely his fault.

further reading: Midsommar Ending Explained

We think this decision is more a journey of discovery decision. Because although you’d probably choose to save even the nobbiest of ex-boyfriends over a murderous cult, Dani has perhaps decided that she’s without family of her own and the nurturing elements of Hårga are where she now belongs. If she doesn’t put Christian in a bear and burn him, she’s never going to be free. He can’t be allowed to leave. He’s currently paralysed. And if not-paraylsed he’ll be a liability, especially given he’s probably fathered a child within the cult. You go your own way, girl. Put him in the bear.

Why a bear?

The gang walk past the still alive bear early on in the film and Mark (Will Poulter) references it (something like ‘is no one going to mention there’s a bear?’) foreshadowing the bear’s later involvement. It’s a Chekhov’s bear, if you will.

There’s a bit more bear-based foreshadowing before the guys even get to Hårga. In Dani’s house there’s a painting of a little girl wearing a crown reaching out to a bear.

(Video) MIDSOMMAR (2019) Story + Ending Explained

But that still doesn’t explain why a bear.

(Video) MIDSOMMAR: Every Creepy Little Detail Hidden In The Movie

In Norse Myth there were warriors called Berserkers who would fight in a frenzied trance and in some versions these were said to be able to actually transform into a bear. Dead Berserkers were often put in bear skins ahead of their funeral rites, so it could be a reference to that?

further reading – Midsommar: Getting Immersed in the Movie’s Terrifying World

But it could also just be because it’s a cool image. We are hoping ‘urgh, put them in a bear and burn them’ becomes a comforting phrase offered to those who are being mistreated by their other half.

Who were the nine sacrifices?

We learn there must be nine people sacrificed. Four from Hårga, four outsiders, and one final choice to be made by the May Queen. The outsiders are of course Mark, Josh, Connie and Simon. The May Queen’s choice is Christian (urgh, put him in a bear and burn him) and then there are two volunteers from Hårga. But who are the other two? At first we thought it was the old couple who jumped off the cliff near the start. But it can’t be them since they had their heads smashed in and were burned on the pyre. Also the sacrifice of the oldies seemed to be something that happens outside the celebrations – if the celebrations happen only every 90 years then would mean that others in the commune wouldn’t be able to sacrifice themselves in this way, and we know that’s not the case because another of the town’s elders says she will sacrifice herself when her time comes.

So who are the locals who are dressed up like trees? Honestly, we don’t know. Suggestions welcome.

Why did they kill Connie and Simon?

Unlike Mark – who wees on the sacred tree, and Josh – who tries to photograph and possibly steal the sacred book – Connie and Simon don’t really commit any obvious transgressions. Unless you count saying ‘fuck’ a lot after the old couple jump off the cliff and wanting to go home early.

(Video) The Horror of MIDSOMMAR Explained

Perhaps the sacrifice of the outsiders isn’t dependent on transgressions at all, though that does make you wonder what might have happened if Dani hadn’t become the May Queen. There are six outsiders, four or possibly five are getting sacrificed. If Dani’s not the May Queen, what would they have done with her? Let her go? Don’t think so.

But if Connie and Simon were always for the chop, why were the elders annoyed with Ingmar?

Ingmar’s all super apologetic that Connie and Simon choose to leave, but why, if they’re just going to be killed anyway? Perhaps this messes with the schedule and there was something more ritualistic planned. Also Simon getting flowers for eyes and hung up in a chicken coup isn’t not ritualistic…

Who’s that in the Mark skin mask?

We think that’s Ruben wearing Mark’s face who kills Josh, because of some sound cues during that scene (and because he protects the book). That was quite the image.

Midsommar Explained - Questions and Theories (3)

Was Dani always going to be May Queen? And what if she hadn’t won the dance?

Pelle certainly seemed to be grooming Dani to become one of them. From very early on, before they take the trip, he empathises with her grief and it’s only Pelle that really makes her feel welcome. However, were it not for the loss of her family, Christian likely would have broken up with her and she wouldn’t have put him in a bear and burned him.

further reading: Midsommar Talks Folk Horror to a New Level

(Video) How Midsommar Brainwashes You

So it’s unlikely that luring her over to become the new May Queen was the plan, but more an opportunity Pelle saw present itself once he realised Dani was going to come with. She could just as easily been one of the nine. There’s an indication that Pelle is romantically interested in Dani (totally kisses her on the mouth) so you could see why he might want her to join the commune.

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If she hadn’t won the dance-off it doesn’t mean she wouldn’t have joined the group – the communal grieving session seemed to be quite a turning point for Dani – though she wouldn’t have had the catharsis of being able to put Christian in a bear and burn him.

Why didn’t they all just leave?

Firstly, because then we wouldn’t have a movie.

But within the film’s logic Mark stays because he’s getting some action. And then he gets killed. Josh and Christian stay because they are planning to base their theses on the community. And Dani? Well initially she’s coerced by Christian but later it seems as if she’s gently seeing some positives in the community – after all, it’s not all bad.

The May Queen dance off, for example, is a strange mix of drug fuelled joy and terror, and at various points the other women are supportive of Dani. She is also slowly beginning to realise how much of a rubbish boyfriend Christian is and coming around to Pelle’s view of the community as a new family. He won’t leave with her (though she fears he would leave without her) and ultimately her journey leads her to believe it’s better for her to stay.

(Video) Midsommar Deleted Scene (Director's Cut)

FAQs

What's the message behind Midsommar? ›

Midsommar is essentially a two and a half hour study of one woman's emotional journey towards emancipation from a toxic relationship. Like director Ari Aster's first film, Hereditary, it's a dark drama disguised as a terror flick. Unlike Hereditary, it has a happy ending.

What is the meaning of Midsommar ending? ›

In the end, Dani is a victim of the cult. While she might feel some form of liberation, she is still trapped in a cult that will exploit her emotional trauma for their advantage.

What did Dani see in the barn in Midsommar? ›

And while yes, by the Midsommar ending Dani's boyfriend Christian is being burned alive in a ritualistic barn, literally inside the carcass of a bear, alongside the mutilated corpses of their friends, Dani has found a sense of community.

What did Dani see in the keyhole? ›

Dani returns to the village just as Christian is carrying out his mandate under extreme duress. She catches sight of the ritual through the temple's keyhole: Middle-aged naked women are writhing and singing around her boyfriend mid-coitus.

Why does Dani smile in the end? ›

As a result, when Dani smiles in the last shot, the audience is supposed to feel happy for her that she is now an important member of this group, is free of her boyfriend, and has a new family.

Why did they put the guy in the bear in Midsommar? ›

In an interview following Midsommar's release, Aster remarked that he chose to use the bear the way he did because the animal is an important figure in Norse and Scandinavian folklore, making its appearance appropriate for a ritual performed by the Swedish Harga cult.

Why did Pelle sacrifice his friends? ›

The Harga, being a white supremacist cult that practice pagan rituals in the modern age, needed sacrifices for their Midsommar festival that occurred once every 90 years. Father Odd decided to task Pelle, who he remarked has an immaculate sense for people, and his brother Ingemar, with bringing them from abroad.

What does Dani see through the door in Midsommar? ›

She peers through the keyhole only to see Christian having sex with Maja and reacts, understandably, as if it's the worst thing she could have seen (that's discounting the whole dead people). Dani's grief finally comes to a head and she breaks down, screaming on the floor, as the woman all match her cries.

What age is Maja in Midsommar? ›

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.

Is Dani the villain in Midsommar? ›

Type of Villain

Dani Ardor is the main protagonist of the 2019 folk horror film Midsommar directed by Ari Aster. A college undergraduate, Dani is the girlfriend of Christian Hughes, and their relationship is distant and toxic before her sister commits a murder-suicide.

What medication does Dani take in Midsommar? ›

A glimpse at a pill bottle of Ativan and an agitated phone call with a friend before her family's death provide us with enough context to know that Dani deals with anxiety and panic attacks.

What does Pelle give Dani for her birthday in Midsommar? ›

Pelle jokes that those over 72 are killed. Not a great joke. He then takes Christian aside to remind him of Dani's birthday, and apparently give him a cake for her.

Was Simon still alive in Midsommar? ›

In Midsommar, Simon is very much alive and breathing when Christian finds him.

Who was in the wheelbarrow Midsommar? ›

Mark's Death Represents Fire

Notably, Mark does this despite the fact that Midsommar's Hårga is a cult. When the final sacrificial scene towards the end is underway, his body is stuffed with hay and placed in a wheelbarrow.

Is Midsommar a true story? ›

Ari Aster's Midsommar is partially based on a real-life Swedish festival, but the customs don't involve the same violence and pagan cult activities on show in the horror movie.

What mental illness does Dani have in Midsommar? ›

The present study features traumatic incidents accumulated in the main character of Ari Aster's film Midsommar, Dani Ardor, who is literally a schizophrenic.

Was Dani meant to be May Queen? ›

Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar features a plethora of foreshadowing that reveals that Dani was destined to become the May Queen. Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar ends with the crowning of Dani as the May Queen, but throughout its entirety it foreshadowed that she it was her destiny all along.

Why did Dani let Viola in? ›

After hearing Quint detail how Flora and Miles can invite him and Rebecca into their bodies, Dani does the same to Viola in the lake, in order to save Flora from drowning. This releases all the trapped ghosts from Bly.

Why did the girl smile at the end of Midsommar? ›

Ari Aster: “It's designed to play as a happy ending.” But is it? After all, what she's smiling at is death—the sight of her own boyfriend (and eight others) being engulfed in flames. The grisly finale feels like a moment of triumph for this character who's spent the whole film enduring emotional torment.

Why are there so many mirrors in Midsommar? ›

The film deals a lot with the nature of reality and being able to 'truly see' the world around us. It seems that Aster uses mirrors as a way to reveal reflections, not of the characters themselves, but their inner thoughts and fears.

What is the yellow drink in Midsommar? ›

What is the Hårga drug? Though it's never explicitly revealed, early on in the film when Dani, Christian, Mark, Josh, and Pelle arrive in the village they're all offered magic mushrooms to help them acclimatize to the festivities.

Why did Pelle choose Dani? ›

It is alluded that Pelle and Dani are destined to be together based on the fact that they are an astrological match. Not only is she the ideal person to become the Harga's queen, she is also the ideal mate for Pelle.

What was Pelle drawing in Midsommar? ›

Pelle Is The Oracle

When Josh receives an explanation of the Oracle, a product of inbreeding, the elder says they have "unclouded intuition." One of the comments on the thread, posted by user u/hobbessss, added that Pelle draws pictures of the feasting table that Dani and co.

What does May Queen mean in Midsommar? ›

Some of those same themes reemerged in 2019's follow-up Midsommar, which centered on Dani, a woman who travels to Sweden and participates in the Harga society's odd annual rituals while still grieving the deaths of her sister and parents, ultimately earning the title of May Queen.

Who is the swollen person in Midsommar? ›

This nightmare material includes the limbless elderly couple, Josh stuffed with paper, Mark's face on a dummy, Christian in a bear costume, Connie who is bloated from drowning, and two Hårga members: Ingemar, who brought the couple from London, and Ulf, the young man who was upset with Mark and later on murdered Josh.

What is Danis sisters full name in Midsommar? ›

Terri is the sister of Dani and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ardor.

Is Dani from Midsommar a final girl? ›

Dani Ardor - Midsommar (2019)

Another non-typical final girl is Dani Ardor from Midsommar which is often considered one of the best horror movies of the 2010s. Following the deaths of her parents and sister, Dani accompanies her unsympathetic boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden.

What is the breathing thing in Midsommar? ›

The Hårga use breath to reinforce their insular group, to synchronize individuals, and to connect to outsiders like Dani. (Kenney also developed the sound of the "punctuation" breaths, Aster says.) Late in the film, Dani's emotional dam finally bursts and she begins howling in pain.

What happens to Marks face in Midsommar? ›

That night when Josh sneaks into the temple to take a photograph of the commune's sacred runic text, which an elder had previously forbidden him from doing, he sees the same cultist wearing Mark's clothes and skinned face and is hit over the head from behind, after which his body is dragged away.

Was there a blood eagle in Midsommar? ›

Simon and Connie decide to leave, however several cultists find Simon and torture him. They then take out his lungs and use them to turn Simon into a blood eagle. They stuff flowers into Simon's eyes as well and leave him in the chicken shack. Christian discovers his body until he is paralyzed by the cultists.

Who is Bror Midsommar? ›

Bror was a member of the cult, The Hårgas. He attended to ceremony where the cult sacrificed valuables and precious food resources to the river goddess, Sven and Irma debated on whether or not it was enough, when young Bror offered himself to be sacrificed to the river.

What is so creepy about Midsommar? ›

Parents need to know that Midsommar is an extremely violent horror movie from the maker of Hereditary. It involves a sinister, ages-old ceremony that includes disturbing rituals. Characters are beaten and smashed, and bodies are cut up and burned (in some cases, alive).

Is Pelle sacrificed in Midsommar? ›

What Happens At The End Of Midsommar. In the third act of Midsommar, all other guests Pelle has brought over to his ancestral commune for the once-every-90-year midsummer celebration have been quietly killed off for the blood sacrifice except for Dani and Christian.

How do Swedes feel about Midsommar? ›

Maypoles and dancing

Midsummer is normally an occasion of large gatherings − and to be honest, many Swedes take advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace. In many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.

Why did the girl smile at the end of Midsommar? ›

Ari Aster: “It's designed to play as a happy ending.” But is it? After all, what she's smiling at is death—the sight of her own boyfriend (and eight others) being engulfed in flames. The grisly finale feels like a moment of triumph for this character who's spent the whole film enduring emotional torment.

Who was in the barn at the end of Midsommar? ›

The Nine Human Sacrifices At The End Of Midsommar Explained

By the end of the movie, four of the new blood sacrifices have already been made: British visitors Connie and Simon, and Christian's friends Josh and Mark.

What mental illness does Dani have in Midsommar? ›

The present study features traumatic incidents accumulated in the main character of Ari Aster's film Midsommar, Dani Ardor, who is literally a schizophrenic.

Was Dani meant to be May Queen? ›

Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar features a plethora of foreshadowing that reveals that Dani was destined to become the May Queen. Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar ends with the crowning of Dani as the May Queen, but throughout its entirety it foreshadowed that she it was her destiny all along.

What does Pelle give Dani for her birthday in Midsommar? ›

Pelle jokes that those over 72 are killed. Not a great joke. He then takes Christian aside to remind him of Dani's birthday, and apparently give him a cake for her.

What did they do with the bodies in Midsommar? ›

His body is buried under fresh dirt, and his foot sticks out of it like a plant. This is symbolic of what the Hargas hope to achieve with their mid-summer festivities: give back to the Earth and be rewarded with plentiful crops as a result.

Videos

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