If you want to hear my ideas about the meaning of Midsommar, stick around to the end of this
Welcome back to Things You Missed.
I'm not going to attempt to fully explain every little image in this movie, because
there's so much packed into it, and I'm not familiar with the culture that it's based
So in this video I'm just going to tell you what I did notice, what connections I made
and my interpretations are.
So the movie starts with this painting of the village divided up into four sections,
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
This image establishes the cyclical themes that we'll see in the movie: the cycle of
seasons throughout one year, the cycle of life, death, impregnation and rebirth and
the actual class system that the commune uses.
The Swedish-American friend Pelle explains that children under 18 are considered to be
in Spring section of their lives Spring is known for leaves starting to grow on the trees,
so it goes along with the idea of their children growing up, maybe even hitting puberty and
Ages 18 to 36 are considered Summer, when the trees are at their fullest.
Our characters fall in this age range, and they in their prime during this movie.
The events take place on Dani's birthday drawing attention to the fact that we are supposed
to notice that they're in their prime.
There's even talk at the beginning that the boyfriend Christian could be wasting his time
with Dani, they tell him he could be with that waitress right now.
And of course, the movie takes place in summer.
I'm sure you didn't miss the title of the movie: Midsommar.
Ages 36-54 are Autumn, and this is when the leaves start to fall off the trees and they
start to decline.
This could be seen as when adults start losing hair and reaching the end of their reproductive
Ages 54-72 are Winter, which maybe explains why the cultists were so upset when Christian's
friend Mark pees on the dead tree, because they see it as a symbol for their own passed
When Dani asks what happens after 72, he gives her a cut-throat gesture.
I think we see this happen in the ceremony on the second day they are there, where two
of the oldest looking villagers, referred to as "the ones", lead the feast, and then
sacrifice some blood on the runes at the top of the cliff.
The American characters are shocked by the diving scene that follows.
Another cycle we see in the movie is the day night cycle.
Dani has a painting in her living room of two moons in the night sky.
It provides a contrast to their destination in Sweden, where the days last twice as long
as the nights.
When they enter the village they come through this big sun shaped structure, and the platform
in the center of the village has a sun painted on it.
The city they come from seems to be in the middle of Winter, so they go from Winter with
two moons, to summer with two suns.
Also, when Christian is eventually garbed in the cult's traditional clothing towards
the end of the movie, a sun and moon can be seen on his robes.
There are more symbols about the circle of life, like when they first arrive and there
is an older woman chanting prayers in what I'm assuming is Swedish.
There are not always subtitles showing during these prayers, but this time there are, she
says "spirits back to the dead".
Whenever Dani drinks that tea that gives her the drug trip, she sees grass growing on her
feet, an image commonly associated with the idea that the dead are taken back by nature.
When the tourists get freaked out by the cliff jumping scene, one of the village elders tries
to calm the girl down by explaining that life is a circle, and it's actually a great joy
for them to die and give their spirits to the upcoming newborns -- and I know I'm not
supposed to put my opinion but that guy who drove his leg didn't look too joyful.
I could be wrong but in my culture, screaming in fucking agony is not typically a sign of
When Dani and Christian talk about it afterwards, he says that it was shocking, but his tone
of voice says otherwise.
He suggests that they keep an open mind and try to acclimate to the culture.
From this point on in the movie they transition from spectators of the ritual to participants,
becoming a part of the ritual, taking on the traditional clothing, and eventually Dani
is even able to speak their language during the dancing competition.
As they become apart of the cult, they become a part of the cycle, and one of the women,
Maya takes an interest in Christian.
Dani later becomes the May Queen.
Maya, May, they could both be a reference to the calendar month of May, where Spring
starts to become Summer.
Pelle explains that Maya was recently approved for some ritual, it basically means she's
allowed to reproduce, because she too is going from Spring to Summer and becoming an adult.
Pregnancy is focused on throughout the movie.
In the very beginning, the Christian and his friends are out at the restaurant, one of
the friends sees their waitress walk away and says, "you could be getting that girl
pregnant right now."
Kind of a weird thing to say if not for the circle of life metaphor.
Also, the way they are seated at the table.
They are seated in an arc similar to the way the women are standing around Christian and
Maya during the impregnation ritual.
There's also a picture frames above the table of a woman bending over.
The shot is composed so that only her breasts are in frame, another parallel to the ritual.
That's the most literal reference to the rebirth metaphor, there are also more symbolic ones,
such as all the women in the commune dancing in a circle around this phallic structure.
During the feast after the big dancing competition, an overhead shot shows a food sculpture in
the middle of the table representing an unclothed woman and I'm the next shot, the phallic structure
is lined up over the body of this woman.
There are some images from the beginning of the movie before they go to Sweden that come
back later in the movie.
Above Dani's bed at her apartment there's a picture of a bear kissing a girl.
Dani's boyfriend ends up inside of a hollowed out bear for the final ritual of the movie.
In that room Christian is taken to so the older lady can ask him to impregnate Maya,
there is an image of a bear on fire on the wall, another foreshadowing of his fate.
In Christian's friend's apartment, there is a similar foreshadowing.
He has a framed picture of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.
In that final burning ritual, there are people whose corpses are stuffed with hay like a
Also, during that scene in the apartment, after Dani shows up everyone kind of bails
out besides her and Pelle.
He seems genuinely interested in her I think he already knows she's fit to be the May Queen
and join his family.
He tells her “I am so happy you are coming”.
Then when the whole group arrives, the village elder says, "We are so happy to have you,"
only making eye contact with Dani as he says so.
Then when Pelle and Dani have the one on one talk, he again emphasizes his pleasure that
she came with.
He challenges the idea that she is really happy dating Christian and tells her the story
of how his parents died and the family was there for him.
Dani and Christian become more and more distant during this time, which is visually conveyed
when he gives her the birthday cake with the candle and literally can't keep the flame
between them burning.
Pelle explains that the family didn't bicker over what's theirs and what's not.
We see this because the babies are raised by the community, not just the parents.
When Dani looks through the keyhole and sees her boyfriend cheating on her, a group of
several women cry and suffer with her in contrast to her crying on her boyfriend's lap with
him not really reacting.
Christian and his friend Josh bicker over who gets to write the thesis paper on this
community, but they recommend that the two share the topic.
I think this conversation Pelle has with Dani helps me understand the character arc that
Dani goes through in the movie and how the cult helps her get there.
At the beginning she’s too emotionally dependant on her boyfriend, and she’s afraid that
she leans on him too much, which is only worsened by her family tragedy.
He is considering breaking up with her because it’s too much for him.
Then, she is introduced to the family, and she sees how they have this community to support
Pelle gives her thoughtful gifts, and she becomes a part of the family after winning
the dance competition and becoming the May Queen.
At the end of the movie, they ask her to pick the next sacrifice and she essentially becomes
the one to break up with Christian and become a permanent part of the family when she chooses
Now as far as the actual rune characters seen all over the village go, again, I don’t
know the culture and I don’t really have a way of translating them, but here’s what
I was able to figure out throughout the film.
There are two characters that come up over and over again.
First there’s this R shaped one, which is sometimes seen rotated or flipped.
It’s on the birthday drawing that Dani receives, at the top of the cliff where the jumping
ritual takes place, on Dani’s robes and on the clothes Christian receives.
It can also be seen on the doors to the room where the impregnation ritual takes place,
and I’m pretty sure it shows up in more spots around the commune.
This is the only symbol in the village that I know the meaning of, because one of the
of cult members points to it in the book of rune characters and says it represents grief.
It’s obvious why it’s so often associated with Dani.
The other one that appears a lot is this hourglass shape.
It shows up in the weird comic strip looking thing that they refer to as a love story for
some reason and on both characters’ outfits and around the village.
Most of the meals that they eat are done so a table that forms this shape when viewed
from overhead and the pattern that the fire burns in the final ritual also resembles this
Let me know if the comments if you have ideas on what it could mean.
Although this is only the second film by the director, Ari Aster, there are a number of
director's trademarks that are already evident.
This part of the video will contain spoilers for his first movie, Hereditary.
Family tragedy occurs in both movies, Midsommar opens with the death of Dani's sister and
parents, and Hereditary shows the decapitation of the daughter, Charlie.
Reincarnation is a theme in both movies.
In Midsommar it's implied that the spirits of "the ones" are reincarnated into the Maya's
Hereditary is all about reincarnating this demon named King Paimon.
Obviously both movies center around cults.
This next one almost seems to be not only an Ari Aster trope, but also an A24 trope
and seems to be turning into a horror genre trope lately as well.
I'm talking, of course, about using naked people, and more specifically naked old people
Not sure how this one got started, I think it may have been It Follows.
So that’s what I noticed about Midsommar, and I’m sure there’s more that I missed,
so if you caught anything, let me know in the comments.
If you want to see the Things You Missed episode I did on Hereditary then click the video on
the left and remember to subscribe to CZsWorld for new horrors every week, ring the deathbell
for notifications and I’ll see you in the next one.
Assuming we both survive.