Midsommar Ending explained
10 July 2019, 14:22
2019's strangest movie has an ending that has everyone talking - but what does it actually mean?
Midsommar is easily one of the strangest and most unclassifiable films to come out in recent years. It's bright, it's colourful, it's funny - and it contains some of the most genuinely upsetting sequences and visuals ever committed to film. Midsommar is so hard to explain that even Will Poulter, who is in the film, struggled to categorise it (as you can see in the interview above).
Midsommar's strangeness is no accident, however - it's actually the film's greatest strength, and the ending is one of the many puzzling pieces that is sure to get people talking. So if you've seen the film and still find yourself scratching your head about what exactly just went down, have no fear - we've got the info you need to understand this charming Swedish nightmare.
WARNING: Spoilers about the Midsommar ending ahead.
What does the ending of Midsommar mean?
To understand the ending of Midsommar, you need to understand what the film is fundamentally about. Although on the surface the movie may seem to be about the dangers of wandering into murderous villages without at least checking their TripAdvisor reviews first, the main theme of the film - according to writer and director Ari Aster - is codependence.
The film begins with Dani (Florence Pugh) locked in a unhealthily dependent relationship with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), who is emotionally distant and planning to break up with her. After the tragic death of her entire family, Dani becomes even more dependent on Christian, who now feels he cannot break up with her after her trauma - leading to an even more unhealthy and dependent relationship.
At the end of the film, Dani, having withstood a huge amount of drugging and trauma at the hands of the villagers, ultimately stands by and watches in horror - and then joy - as Christian is burned alive inside a bear corpse.
It could be easy here to make the basic assumption that Dani has just become evil, or corrupted by the cult, and although the latter is true to an extent, what has really happened is that Dani has traded one unhealthy dependent relationship for another.
Where she used to look to Christian to prop her up, she now has the cult - who repeat, quite heavy-handedly that they are now her "family" (the kind of thing a person who, say, just lost their entire family, might want to hear).
In an interview with Vulture, Aster said: “in many ways, Dani is moving from one dysfunctional codependent relationship to another, more functional codependent relationship... Even though these people are very much in touch with themselves and with each other and with the world around them, even though they’re more present in their own lives then the visitors are, they’re also a very organized — like, upsettingly organized — town of murderers.”
This ending is intriguing because despite Dani seeming empowered and independent by the time the credits roll - having become the May Queen and an authority in the village - she is actually just as trapped and reliant as she was before. Oh, and she's almost entirely lost her mind. Lovely.
But like all good movie endings, things are up for interpretation. Florence Pugh, for her part, says she did not believe that Dani knew what was happening right at the end of the movie - "she doesn't realise what's going on" - as she had fully lost her mind. She said she could not bring herself to believe that her character would willingly watch Christian die.
Ari Aster disagrees, however, saying that she was aware that Christian was being killed, but that at that point she had almost entirely lost her mind and - even more importantly - she had "fused" with the village community, so that she did not feel the need to stop it happening.