In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Midsommar, we look at important motifs that help us understand the film.
- Dani Ardor – Florence Pugh
- Christian – Jack Reynor
- Josh – William Jackson Harper
- Mark – Will Poulter
- Connie – Ellora Torchia
- Simon – Archie Madekwe
- Pelle – Vilhelm Blomgren
- Ingemar – Hampus Hallberg
- Maja – Isabelle Grill
- Ulf – Henrik Norlén
- Inga – Julia Ragnarsson
- Written by – Ari Aster
- Directed by – Ari Aster
Important motifs in Midsommar
Winter and Summer
Midsommar begins in winter, it ends with the start of summer. This serves as a visual representation for Dani’s journey with grief. At the beginning, we see her at her most broken. By the end, she’s part of a new family and supported. Reinforcing this idea of Dani being in a season of grief is the Hårga philosophy of life itself being a cycle of seasons. Spring is 0-18. Summer is 18-36. Fall is 36-54. Winter 54-72. Both narratively and visually, Midsommar connects nature and life.
It’s very shocking when the Hårga gut a bear and put Christian inside with his face visible in the open mouth. We’re told this represents a purging of negative feelings. The bear is symbolic of all the scary, dangerous emotions felt by the Hårga over the course of the year. Burn the bear, cleanse the community of those emotions.
On first viewing, it’s easy to forget that the bear motif is actually introduced right after the opening credits. On second viewing, it’s one of those moments that make you go, “Oh!!! Whoa!” After the opening credits, the movie picks up in Dani’s room. She’s on her bed, trying to sleep. Above her is a large painting, in the style of a fairy tale, of a young girl, wearing a crown, kissing the nose of a gigantic bear. Christian then walks into the room. Knowing that Christian ends up as a bear and Dani as the May Queen, that painting has entirely new meaning. It embodies Dani’s attempts to have a relationship with someone as difficult as Christian. Beyond that, we know the bear comes to represent negative emotions, baggage, fears, sorrows. So the painting can also be read as Dani having to confront those feelings. And also connects those feelings to Christian.
It’s a very charged motif that’s essential to Midsommar.
Once Dani wins the dance competition and becomes the May Queen, the Hårga cover her in flowers. First a crown and half-shaw over the shoulders. Later, she’s in a whole gown, covered head to toe in a mass of flowers. It so happens that right after she wins the May Queen, one of the girls tells her she’s become family. They view her as part of the Hårga and begin to honor her and incorporate her into the ceremonies. Not only that, when she has a panic attack after catching Christian with Maja, the other younger women support her through her pain. They openly empathize, mirroring her. This goes back to something Pelle said earlier about how when he lost his parents he felt held by the Hårga. He never had a chance to feel alone and sad because he had his community.
Knowing that Midsommar has already connected Dani’s grief to winter and her eventual catharsis to summer, you can start to see how that might extend to the flowers. They’re absolutely a byproduct of the warmth, vitality, and boon of summer. By covering her in this emblem of summer, it visualizes not only the way in which Dani is leaving her season of grief and starting something more positive but the impact of the Hårga’s support. The more they support her, the more flowers she accrues. Until, finally, in the final moments, Dani genuinely smiles.
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