Job by Alexis Lebrun August 20, 2021
Released in 2019, Ari Aster’s second film was one of the greatest thrills in recent independent film history. Huge aesthetic and horrific slap, MIDSOMMAR also changed the dimension of its main performer, the Briton Florence Pugh.
Welcome, and happy Midsommar!
As we know, Sweden is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Who would refuse a unique opportunity to go there to participate in an ancestral summer festival that takes place only once every 90 years? Certainly not Dani (Florence Pugh), a young woman invited by her half Christian (Jack Reynor) to accompany her on this journey which promises to be exotic. Initially, Dani was not supposed to be because the couple are in the process of separation. But touched by the mourning that his future ex-girlfriend is going through, Christian changes his plans and offers to join his band of friends. Once arrived on site in the remote corner where the “festivities” take place, Dani quickly regrets having accepted the invitation, because the festival in question is not at all a soothing sinecure under the Swedish summer sun. that never goes to bed.
On the contrary: the unfortunate woman finds herself embroiled in a big bloody nonsense orchestrated by a kind of pagan sect. Traumatic events follow one another, and the journey quickly turns into a horrific nightmare from which we cannot escape. Made unforgettable in particular by its suffocating atmosphere and its highly worked colorful aesthetic recognizable among a thousand (ah this dress in flowers and these friezes …), MIDSOMMAR is the new face of “folk horror”, a genre in full revival thanks to the series THE THIRD DAY (OCS) or feature films like THE WITCH (Robert Eggers, 2016) and HÉRÉDITÉ (2018), Ari Aster’s first horror film that had already made a lot of talk before the MIDSOMMAR slap. The American director quickly established himself as one of the most prominent gifted in independent cinema, and his work as a director on the film has even drawn the craziest comparisons with some masters of the seventh art like Stanley Kubrick.
Hollywood’s new darling
But the success of MIDSOMMAR is also due to its lead actress. Revealed at the age of twenty in the period film THE YOUNG LADY (William Oldroyd, 2016), where she was suffocating in an arranged marriage with a guy twice her age, Florence Pugh has continued to string together roles since then remained in the memories. We remember in particular that in 2018, she radiated with her precocious talent THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (CANAL +) the miniseries of Park Chan-wook adapted from the spy novel by John le Carré, but also KING LEAR (Richard Eyre, 2018) the BBC TV movie adapted from Shakespeare, where she plays the King’s Daughter played by Anthony Hopkins. But Florence Pugh had to wait the following year to really break through with the general public.
After being incomprehensibly snubbed by the Oscars for her stunning performance as a depressed and traumatized woman in MIDSOMMAR, she earns her first nomination for a statuette with DAUGHTERS OF DOCTOR MARCH (Greta Gerwig, 2019), new adaptation in which she manages to steal the show from a crazy female cast (Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern…) with her adorable interpretation of Amy, the unpredictable artist of the family. Add to that her convincing performance as British wrestler Paige with the biopic A FAMILY ON THE RING (Stephen Merchant, 2019), and it didn’t take much for her services to be snapped up in Hollywood.
As a result, Florence Pugh made her debut this year in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with BLACK WIDOW (Cate Shortland), where she plays the sister of Scarlett Johansson just as venomous as the Black Widow. She is already promised a career to match that of the highest paid actress in Hollywood, and if we can trust her filmography so far, there is no reason why not either not.