Jason Arment

Aping Kubrick does not make you Kubrick: The self-referential problems of ‘Midsommar’

Midsommar is a film made during a breakup, and it feels like tepid self-reference, instead of meaningful self-reflection.

 

 

Midsommar, much like Hereditary, watches like not only had Ari Aster recently steeped in his films’ subject matter (the director was going through a breakup when he wrote Midsommar) but as if he was told the movie needed to be painfully self-referential.

Unfortunately, this didn’t help his films, because aping Kubrick does not make one Kubrick, the same way writing a story does not make the story great.

 

 

After watching Midsommar, I took the time to watch Hereditary, which is basically a wet dog story with an antagonist so powerful the entire film is negated by that which provides for its logic (or rather, the corrupted logic of the satanic). If the antagonist can lend its ability to see the future to the cult, then why is there even a movie?

Similarly, in Midsommar, there is a cult and rituals cribbed from reality, and a storyline which only sort of makes sense. And by “sense” I’m referring to verisimilitude surviving casual scrutiny. Simply stated, it isn’t enough to sprinkle a multitude of loosely related tropes and symbols throughout the film.

Beyond this, I’m not sure what to else to say about these films (Midsommar and Hereditary), save that the last time I had an invest with so little return was recent—social security tax.

 

Jason Arment is the author of Musalaheen, a war memoir published by University of Hell Press.

 

Jason Arment

Jason Arment served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Machine Gunner in the USMC. He's earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lunch Ticket, Chautauqua, Hippocampus, The Burrow Press Review, Dirty Chai, and War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities; anthologized in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Volume 2 & 4; and is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Florida Review, and Phoebe. Jason lives in Denver.

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