Ari Aster, known for his terrifying movies like Hereditary, directed a different kind of horror film called Midsommar. His latest work, Beau Is Not Afraid, is a departure from his previous creations.
Aster’s movies always put a strong emphasis on the characters, which is why they receive critical acclaim. In Midsommar, the protagonist is Dani, played by Florence Pugh. This breakthrough role earned Pugh an Academy Award nomination.
Dani’s journey in the film is dark and unsettling, and Pugh delivered an exceptional performance in capturing her character’s lowest moments. Here are some of Pugh’s standout moments in Midsommar.
Christian’s Travel Plans: Dani discovers that her boyfriend, Christian, and his friends are planning a trip to Sweden without telling her. In a tense confrontation, Dani questions Christian and tries to make him stay, ultimately apologizing for his actions.
A Forgotten Birthday: Despite their troubled relationship, Dani tries to salvage it. However, Christian forgets Dani’s birthday, and she apologizes to him for his mistake, highlighting the toxic dynamic between them.
Grieving Alone: Dani copes with her personal traumas throughout the film until she finds solace within a new “family.” Pugh skillfully portrays Dani’s extreme pain and isolation, particularly in a scene where she breaks down in an airplane bathroom.
Ättestupa: Dani witnesses a disturbing ritual where two elderly people commit suicide. Pugh conveys Dani’s horror, reflecting her own family tragedy and emotional instability.
A Bad Trip: Dani reluctantly takes mushrooms with her boyfriend’s friends and experiences a distressing trip. Pugh depicts her character’s anxiety and panic attack, illustrating Dani’s constant struggle to suppress her emotions for the sake of others.
The Ninth Victim: As the May Queen, Dani must choose a sacrifice for the village. Overwhelmed with heartbreak and depression, she selects her paralyzed boyfriend, severing her last attachment to her past life.
The May Queen: In a visually stunning moment, Dani dances and celebrates her role as the May Queen. It is a rare instance of happiness for the character after enduring hardship, symbolizing a glimmer of hope.
Midsommar is known for its intense and traumatic scenes. One pivotal moment occurs when Dani receives a phone call revealing her sister’s suicide and her parents’ deaths. Pugh’s desperate scream and subsequent breakdown set the tone for the film.
In the film’s climax, Dani witnesses her boyfriend’s infidelity and experiences a complete breakdown. The other women in the village support her, showcasing Pugh’s powerful performance alongside her co-stars.
Ultimately, Dani finds solace and a sense of belonging in the village, as the film concludes with her embracing a new beginning and leaving her painful past behind.