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Midsommar: Putting the “cult” in culture

Midsommar: Putting the “cult” in culture

Midsommar is a film about a woman’s journey towards self-discovery. Set in a dreary, always-bright secluded area in Sweden, the film explores multiple themes like grief and emotional trauma. It follows a group of graduate candidates as they explore the colorful but unnerving Nordic territory of Harga.

The highly textured cinematic masterpiece focuses on the character of Dany. Midsommar centers on her as she navigates the world of grief and relational dysfunctions. A very elaborate “break-up” movie, this non-cliché slasher film investigates how emotionally vulnerable individuals fall into the clutches of cultist beliefs.

Midsommar and its cultural themes

The film questions and even tests the boundaries between cult and culture. The director of Midsommar, Ari Aster ensured that the audiences are left confused as to what cultural practices are “too much.” If your cultural norms dictate that you jump off a cliff when you hit the age of 72, would you do it? How are you so sure?

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The film is so effective in communicating the cult-like extreme practices in the cloak of cultural norms that I could not help but think that the main characters were the villains of the story. They were the ones who were judgmental, disrespectful, and condescending to the people in Harga. It left me questioning if maybe, they deserved their gruesome demise.

Is Midsommar a feminist film?

This is a question that fans cannot seem to agree on. Many fans argue that Dany is a feminist heroine after choosing to leave her emotionally abusive relationship. In my personal perspective, however, Dany is not a feminist heroine. She was simply an emotionally vulnerable person who placed her grief on the shoulders of her unwilling and shallow boyfriend. We have to stop equating feminism with revenge because the movement is about empowerment, not respite.

I think that being a feminist means so much more than just burning your boyfriend. But, maybe that’s just me!

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