Directed by Ari Aster

Midsommar's "Happy" Ending, Explained

Ari Aster’s Midsommar ends with a smile creeping across the face of its protagonist, Dani (Florence Pugh). The grisly finale feels like a moment of triumph for this character, who’s spent the whole film enduring emotional torment. Watching the suffering of others who’ve wronged her provides her the satisfaction of retribution and lets us participate in a revenge fantasy that might feel especially liberating to anyone who’s suffered a very bad break-up. But if we do smile along with Dani, what does that say about us? Here’s our take on how Midsommar tells a different kind of horror story—one that’s less about things lurking in the darkness, than the truths lurking inside us—and why its terrifying ending is the key to this twisted fairy tale.

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Ari Aster