If you’ve seen Midsommar, Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, then you know the feeling of shattered terror that you’ll take home with you. The final half-hour is particularly gripping and loaded with unsettling symbolism and imagery. You may also be feeling bewildered. All of us here are friendly, so don’t worry. Definitely not the type of pals you’d go on a trip to Sweden with. The best of pals.
Warning: major Midsommar ending spoilers are ahead. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the film. You may, however, get a free, spoiler-free synopsis of the entire film right here if that’s more your speed.
Midsommer contains a large number of memorable scenes that will linger with you long after the final credits have rolled. This precipice. The heavy sled. There’s the bear outfit. Christian’s pusher’s female counterpart. The ending, though, is the part that demands the greatest thought.
What this boils down to, then, is as follows: Early on, we see a story drawn on sheets and hung from a wire in which Dani is the May Queen and Christian is being trained to assume the role. A pube in a pie and menstrual blood in his drink help him be selected, and he is then drugged and coaxed into committing to Maja.
Midsommar Plot Explanation
We’ve already established that Midsommar is a peculiar movie. It’s terrifying not only because it takes place in broad daylight, but also because the film’s conclusion is obvious from the very first shot.
To tell the story of Midsommar up to the burning of Christian in the skin of a bear, composer Ari Aster eschewed the traditional narrative canons and instead used an overture in the form of title illustrations, paintings in the main character’s house, or pagan symbols. The question is, why?
Initial of all, these easter eggs, which are hidden from view during the first viewing, become immediately apparent on a second, closer watch. That is unless you plan on seeing Midsommar both times it airs.
Second, as was indicated up top, the Midsommar’s orgy of Khorgi is set against the backdrop of a display of the interaction between a man and a woman. This is also the tale of Dani’s inner development, which begins with the girl’s tragic loss of her family and ends with her triumphant reunion with them.
Midsommar Ending Explained
Consider the first act as a whole, and you’ll notice that Aster gave us a few hints. Dani’s flat features two paintings: one depicts the moons passing through time, while the other depicts a lady sprinting past a pile of corpses. In contrast to the snow and rain outdoors, Dani also has a number of plants inside.
After a while, Dani heads to bed, and we see the picture above her that reads, “Stackars Lilla Basse!,” an artwork by Swedish painter John Bauer that translates to “Poor Little Bear!” (d1918). There are several fairytales that Baure depicted, but “Oskuldens Vandring,” often known as “The Walk of Innocence,” is the one that applies here.
A young lady named Little Bear travels through the woods and encounters a bear. Little Bear is a pitiful little bear, and the girl kisses his nose and names him by that name. Even while that isn’t exactly what happened in Midsommar, the bear does portend the end of Christian.
When seen in the same light, everything in Dani’s apartment suggests that she was destined for the role of May Queen. Her hands and feet sprout plants while she’s visiting Sweden; the moon rises as the Harga discuss the cycle of life, and Dani’s anguished screaming resurfaces at the conclusion as the Harga release their pent-up emotions.
The fertility ceremony is foreshadowed by the tapestry we see when Simon points out the bear in the cage, and their deaths are foreshadowed by the paintings in the barn where they spend the night.
Is Midsommar Real?
Although the film’s cult is fictional, it was inspired by others that Aster studied.
Following a screening of the film at the Brooklyn Alamo Drafthouse, Aster described the film’s plot as “a stew” in a post-screening discussion. We’re not making stuff up; our inspiration comes from genuine Swedish customs, Swedish folklore, and Norse mythology.
Aster has stated that Midsommar can be viewed as a fairytale and has also described it as a folk horror film. The basic premise is that strangers who come to a strange land die by participating in pagan rituals. Maybe we can figure out why Dani is happy if we interpret the ending as a fairy tale.
She is now an orphan after the death of her parents and siblings. From Cinderella to Snow White, the Little Mermaid to Beauty and the Beast, every heroine is orphaned at the beginning of the story. Also, Dani becomes a queen, which, while typically reserved for a princess, is nonetheless appropriate for a narrative of this nature.