Midsommar Parent Guide
With its horrific, brutal violence, "Midsommar" doesn't fit the bill for fun summer viewing.
Parent Movie Review
Struggling with mental illness after the deaths of her parents and sister, Dani (Florence Pugh) becomes increasingly fragile as her relationship with boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) starts to crumble. Christian and his friends are going to a small community in Sweden to see its Midsummer festival and Dani decides to tag along. What she doesn’t expect, however, are the bizarre cult-like rituals, the strong hallucinogens, and the dangerous people she finds there.
What all potential viewers – not just parents – need to be aware of before seeing Midsommar is that it has catastrophic content issues. Its repeated instances of full frontal nudity are enough to disqualify this as the kind of movie you’d watch with your grandma, and that’s without mentioning the prolonged sex scene that I can’t describe in detail on a family website. Throw in 53 uses of profanity and episodes of hallucinogenic drug use and this is a movie you won’t want to watch with teens. But when you consider the horrific violence in Midsommar, you might decide this isn’t a film you want to watch at all. I’m not easily grossed out, but the violence in this movie had me vaguely nauseous, so those without a strong stomach are also going to want to stay home.
On the plus column, the film is beautifully shot. Not only are the locations and sets stunning, but the near-constant daylight means that you can actually see and appreciate that work, which is fairly unusual in a horror film (cough… Annabelle Comes Home…cough). The cinematography is interesting and dynamic without being off-putting or juvenile. Inverted shots seem to mirror the changing dynamics and rules within different scenes and help to underscore plot developments.
The score is another big winner. Produced by The Haxan Cloak, it creeps around the shots, lurking ominously in the background and waiting for the perfect moment to emerge and scare your pants clean off (clearly, it scared a few characters that way as well). When it isn’t being low, creepy, and unsettling, the score is mostly extremely unnerving diegetic Swedish folk singing. This aspect of the music is usually atonal or in strange harmonics that really make the movie feel, somehow, even weirder than it already is.
Midsommar is definitely not a production for most filmgoers. It is a very specific type of horror show - atmospheric, haunting and unsettling, punctuated throughout with visceral violence and unusual sex. The real horror, more often than not, comes from the very real emotional difficulties endemic to being alive. The film flips rapidly between being disgusting and heartfelt, and occasionally manages comedic. It’s difficult to pin down or describe concretely, but I’m very confident in saying that it’s not a film suitable for family consumption. Unless, that is, your family is a psychotic pagan cult in the far north of Sweden…and even then, I might hesitate. Wouldn’t want to give them any new ideas.Directed by Ari Aster. Starring Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, and Jack Reynor.. Running time: 140 minutes. Theatrical release July 3, 2019. Updated July 8, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is Midsommar rated R? Midsommar is rated R by the MPAA
Violence: An individual murders two people and then commits suicide. Two people ritually cut their hands before jumping off a cliff. One dies on impact, and the other sustains a compound fracture before being bludgeoned to death with a large mallet. Both are shown with graphic injuries. Their bodies are burned on a pyre. An individual is struck with the giant mallet and killed. An individual is shown, still alive, suspended from the rafters with their lungs pulled out through their back like wings (a Viking tradition called a “blood eagle”). Several individuals are graphically burned alive.
Sexual Content: There are multiple scenes of full frontal nudity and one prolonged sex scene with a lot of detail that I can’t describe here. There are many illustrations of nude people. An individual is fed pubic hair and menstrual blood as a love potion.
Profanity: Profanity, including sexual expletives, is used on 53 occasions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters discuss marijuana and are frequently shown taking various psychedelics. Characters are shown drinking beer occasionally. Characters take ceremonial shots of an unnamed liquor.
Page last updated July 8, 2019
Related home video titles:
If you’re looking for horror movies with PG-13 ratings, you can try The Sixth Sense. This thriller stars Bruce Willis as a psychologist who’s trying to help a child who believes he can see dead people.
The Woman in Black is a period horror film set in the prototypical dilapidated mansion full of weird noises and dark secrets.
For a movie that creates and sustains fear and tension without a lot of gore, you can try 10 Cloverfield Lane.