Warning: The following post contains massive spoilers for Midsommar.
• From Hereditary director Ari Aster, Midsommar is his equally-disturbing new film.
• Star Jack Reynor shared his thoughts on the movie’s ending with Men’s Health.
• Midsommar is in theaters now.
Carrying a movie as utterly insane and off the rails as Midsommar had to be quite the task for it’s lead actors, Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor. But still, the ending certainly provokes a reaction—Reynor had one, and he thinks it may slightly differ from the way audience reaction has veered in early screenings.
First, let’s take a quick moment to recall how the movie wraps up: as more and more hallucinogenic drugs are taken by the (remaining) lead characters, things start to go really crazy (which, for this movie, is definitely saying something).
After a dancing ceremony leads to Dani (Pugh) being named the ‘May Queen,’ Christian (Reynor), also on mind-altering drugs, is taken, separately, to a sex ritual, where he’s been approved to ‘mate’ (the movie uses terminology like this) with the younger sister of Pelle, his friend who invited the group to the ceremony in the first place.
When Dani eventually walks in and witnesses Christian in the midst of this sex ritual, she’s horrified. Christian is later paralyzed by another unknown substance, before the people running the ceremony place him in a chair in front of Dani. At this point, she’s required to select someone from a group—which includes the incapacitated Christian—for sacrifice. She never says it aloud, but angry at his part in the ritual, along with everything else that’s gone so completely off the rails, chooses Christian to die.
This brings on perhaps the most brutal part in the movie, where Christian, still unable to move or speak aloud, has his legs cut off, and is stuffed inside the corpse of a dead bear (yes, a bear), and put in a temple alongside other corpses (those of their friends, whose bodies have been stuffed), where he’s eventually burned alive.
According to Reynor, there were additional scenes filmed that depicted Chrsitian being a more compassionate boyfriend to Dani, that might’ve changed the way audiences react to this ending.
“I think the film is more divisive with an audience as a result of those scenes being cut,” he said. “I think if that compassion had been included, categorically, people would probably feel like, oh no, maybe he shouldn’t have died the way that he died.”
Instead, at least in the early goings, reaction has tipped in the other direction. At an early screening, Reynor checked in with the audience about how they reacted to his character’s end.
“I asked the audience, and almost 50% of the people put their hand up,” he remembered. “They were like, Yup, you deserved to die that way. I was like, OK!”
Given his connection to the material, having played what we saw in the final version of the movie, in addition to the extra scenes mentioned that were cut, how does he feel? Earlier in our conversation, he showed awareness that Christian was not a good boyfriend, and also noted that he certainly had dick-ish qualities to him. But, did he really deserve all that?
“No! I don’t think anybody deserves to die like that. It’s horrific!” he says, noting that Dani still never explicitly pointed his character out as the choice to be sacrificed, saying that the decision, in the context of the movie, came as something of an “unspoken understanding.”
While Christian certainly left some to be desired, Reynor certainly didn’t come away from the movie with the thinking that everyone got what they deserved. And, really, that’s where the horror of Midsommar comes into play—from the movie’s opening sequence, where Dani’s mentally ill sister commits a murder-suicide on her parents, the theme is undeniable: life isn’t fair. Here, at least, whether someone, or something, deserves something, isn’t really relevant.
“I think everybody in the world makes bad choices. None of us are perfect. None of us have a perfect moral code about how we deal with difficult relationships, or with whatever,” he said. “Do we deserve to have our legs chopped off, and get stuffed inside a dead bear, and burned alive for it? Probably not!”
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