The Ending Of ‘Midsommar’ Explained | Pop Culture Decoded

The Ending Of ‘Midsommar’ Explained | Pop Culture Decoded

[Narrator] “Midsommar” is a horror movie about a Swedish festival
gone very, very wrong. The film was written and
directed by Ari Aster, the man behind 2018’s “Hereditary.” This follow-up is equally
disturbing and just as baffling. Here are all of the symbols
and hidden references in the movie, and how they
relate to its shocking ending. Warning: Spoilers ahead. First of all, while “Midsommar” quickly turns into a cultish nightmare, the movie is ultimately about
the end of a relationship between the two main
characters, Dani and Christian. Ari Aster was recovering
from a breakup of his own while he was developing the film, and that experience influenced his writing of the characters, in particular Dani. He was also inspired by romantic films, like 1973’s “Scenes From a Marriage” and 1981’s “Modern Romance.” Robert: I don’t think that
we should go out anymore. [Narrator] As for his horror influences, there’s a clear reference to “The Shining” in this overhead shot of the journey. Early in the movie, the
paintings on the walls of the apartments hint
toward the ending of the film and the very messy breakup we witness. In Christian’s apartment,
we see a painting by Brooklyn-based artist Mu Pan. The work is part of a series
called “Dinoassholes,” a title that seems very appropriate for Christian’s character, given his callous treatment of Dani. Also visible is this work by
Swedish artist John Bauer. It depicts a little girl in
a crown facing a large bear. This painting directly
alludes to the movie’s ending, when Christian is placed
inside a bear carcass and set on fire. Dani watches him burn while
wearing a crown of flowers. Later, in Siv’s house, Christian also sees an image on the wall of a bear being burned alive, further foreshadowing his untimely death. Simon: So we’re just going
to ignore the bear then? Ingemar: It’s a bear. [Narrator] Aster compared the sacrificial burning of the temple to the burning of a box
of an ex’s personal items as a sort of catharsis post-breakup, only, of course, far more extreme. The sacrificial burning at the end also calls back the ending
of “The Wicker Man,” in which the outsider main character is placed in a wooden
statue and set afire. Aster and his team spent months researching Scandinavian
and Germanic folklore and scattered Easter
eggs throughout the film, which also hint at the culmination of Dani and Christian’s relationship, major plot points, and other characters’ deaths. One of the most important
set pieces, the bunkhouse, exemplifies this attention to detail. The inner walls are
covered in elaborate murals painted by artist Ragnar Persson
and based on medieval art. If you look closely, these images actually
reveal much of the plot. Basically, the bunkhouse
fulfills the same function as the dollhouse did in “Hereditary,” illustrating much of the story
before it actually happens. For example, above one of the beds we see an illustration
of two people having sex, surrounded by onlookers. This clearly refers to the mating ritual Christian is later lured
into to impregnate Maja. This scene is also hinted at when the boys are eating
earlier in the film and discussing all of the Swedish girls they plan on impregnating during the trip. Another illustration shows people cutting their hands as a sacrifice. Soon after, we see the
old couple cut their palms atop the cliff, right before
they jump to their deaths. Also covering the walls are many runes, an ancient language that features heavily throughout the film. At one point, the characters
refer to the runes as Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark, two evolutions of the
same system of language. Looking at the meanings
of some of these symbols, we can try to piece together
why Aster chose them in certain parts of the movie. He assigned each character a rune, which we can see clearly on their robes. Dani has an R rune on her dress, which symbolizes a ride or a journey. This likely refers to her
own journey of finally coming to terms with the
truth about her relationship. The hourglass-shaped rune next it symbolizes day or an awakening. This likely refers to Dani’s
breakthrough about Christian, a moment of clarity for her. Dani’s character also
experiences a slow reawakening throughout the festival. The first sign of her rebirth is when she wakes up from her nap and suddenly her skin appears
golden and almost glittery. Meanwhile, Christian’s
robe has an up-arrow rune, which could reference
either the male symbol or a willingness to self-sacrifice, ironically, a quality he does not have. The first bloody sacrifice we witness is that of two senior
members of the community who throw themselves off a cliff. This tradition is called ättestupa. It’s based off of Nordic
legends in which people would commit ritual suicide when they grew too old to care
for themselves any longer. When the man and woman
rub their bloody hands on the rune stones, the two symbols that appear are the R from Dani’s robe and the up arrow from Christian’s robe. The shape of the dining
table is also significant. This rune symbolizes tradition, the passing down of rituals and rites. If you look closely at the
sunlike entrance to the village, you’ll see the same
shape, but upside-down. The X inside the sacred
temple can mean gift, which makes sense, as
the community is planning on gifting nine souls to the gods. Beyond the bunkhouse murals, there’s a tapestry in the open field that also foretells parts of the plot. It depicts a bizarre love story in which a girl puts her
menstrual blood and pubic hair in a boy’s food and drink to
make him fall in love with her. This is exactly what
Maja does to Christian. You can see here that his drink
is darker than the others, with a reddish tint. And he pulls a pubic hair out of his mouth after taking a bite of the pie. While the most horrific events
in the film are fictitious, the holiday and many of
its rituals are very real. Midsummer is an annual event
that takes place in mid-June, around the summer solstice. It’s popular across the globe,
particularly in Scandinavia. And it’s even depicted briefly
in the Disney movie “Frozen.” Midsummer was initially a pagan holiday, but it eventually merged
with the Christian feast day of St. John the Baptist, a celebration of the prophet’s birth. Indeed, there are several
references to John the Baptist in the film. Pelle tells Dani that the
festival lasts nine days and that the event is special because it only occurs every 90 years. In the Bible, the Virgin Mary stayed with John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, for 90 days before Elizabeth gave birth. Then, when they get to the
field outside the village, Ingemar wishes Pelle a
happy St. John’s in Swedish. One of the flowers that covers the village is St. John’s wort. It’s customary to celebrate
St. John’s Day with bonfires, like the one that burned
the sacrifices alive in the final scene, and with torches, like those
that the villagers carry throughout the film. One of the key components of
“Midsommar” is the maypole, which we see in the film
covered in flowers and greenery for good luck. The ritual in which the villagers
dance around the maypole is based in a real-life Midsummer custom, one that revolves around
procreation and fertility. So it makes sense that
Christian’s bizarre sex ritual is a major part of what comes next. The community makes way for new life by making a lot of bloody sacrifices. Let’s start with what happened to Josh. When he goes to bed on his last night, he’s already set on sneaking into the barn to photograph the holy book. The camera lingers on his shoes as he pulls the blanket over his body. The shot of his sneakers
may be referencing the mass suicide of the
Heaven’s Gate cult in 1997, when 39 cult members were
found dead on their bunk beds, having taken a powerful sedative and covered themselves in purple sheets. As an anthropology student, Josh is obsessed with northern
European pagan traditions, to the extent where he’s fully
embraced this cult in Sweden. His ambition and academic passion is ultimately what brings his demise. In the barn, Josh is attacked by Ulf, the same man who got angry at Mark for peeing on the ancestral tree. The most disturbing part: Ulf
is now wearing Mark’s face. Later, we see the skin of Mark’s face placed on a straw dummy and
topped off with a jester’s hat. This cruel fate is foreshadowed
earlier in the movie. Simon: What are they playing?
Ingemar: Skin the Fool. [Narrator] In retrospect,
this bit of foreshadowing makes sense, as Mark pretty neatly fit the comedic archetype of the fool. An even greater horror is done to Simon, the Londoner who mysteriously disappeared without his fiancée, Connie. Christian stumbles on Simon tied face-down in the chicken coop, with his back sliced open
and liver and ribs exposed. As we look closer, we see
that his lungs are moving, indicating that Simon is still alive. If you’re wondering how anyone could come up with this stuff, it turns out Aster did months of research on Viking torture techniques. What Simon’s subjected to is right in line with the “blood eagle” method
of execution by torture, a prolonged type of ritual killing detailed in Norse poetry. So why have such brutal Viking rituals survived in this insular community? And what does it all mean? To get an idea, we should look to Ruben, the so-called oracle in the community. As an elder in the village explains, Ruben was purposely inbred
to serve as a conduit for the word of the gods. The boy is said to have unclouded judgment as a result of his condition
and his pure blood. Towards the end of the movie, he’s shown sitting on a
seat covered in cotton, looking almost like
he’s sitting on a cloud. In Aster’s words, Ruben embodies the political message of the film, which is perhaps partly
critiquing the global rise of xenophobia and the return
of the far right in Sweden. As Aster said in an interview, “If you consider Swedish history, it is a very closed society. And what does that really mean? There are things happening
in Sweden right now that are echoes of things that happened in the Second World War.” OK, now back to the ending of the film. It seems that the burning
of the sacred temple was part of Pelle’s plan
from the very beginning. One theory: While Dani’s family seemed to die in a murder-suicide, what if it was actually a setup? Next to her parents’ bed
was a crown of flowers, and there are similar yellow flowers on their wallpaper too, a mysterious bit of foreshadowing. What if, say, Pelle killed Dani’s family to trigger the series of events that led her to the festival? He does emphasize that he
was most looking forward to Dani coming along on the
trip, more than anyone else. Whether or not Dani was chosen by Pelle, there are some other
hints that she was always a perfect candidate for May Queen. One is her birthday,
which Pelle is well aware coincides with the
beginning of the festival. Dani’s in her mid-20s, which
is significant because, as Pelle explains, his community thinks of one’s
life in terms of seasons. The first 16 years of life
are equivalent to one season, spring. Dani is midway through
the next season, summer, so literally midsummer. Regardless of the impetus
for Dani’s journey, the movie comes full
tragic circle by the end, beginning with the deaths of her family and ending with the death of Christian. As Aster says, “You start
with the unfathomable, and you end with the unfathomable.” So did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

100 thoughts on “The Ending Of ‘Midsommar’ Explained | Pop Culture Decoded

  1. I thought it was interesting that there are a lot of Saint John's Wart flowers throughout the movie. The plant has properties that can be used to treat depression, and I think it's very cool & symbolic that the community that embraces Dani emotionally uses this flower in their rituals.

  2. I guess the movie has double meaning: 1) An individual with a distinct ego and without community emphathy – a lonenly unhappy, loveless world and, 2) a community without ego and personality and lot's of empathy between community members – "a happy, joyful world", with zero value given to an individual human being as well as to outsiders and with all things, including wicked and cruel things done for the higher purpose of the community. In fact, this is still lonely, unhappy, lovelss world. Both are doomed.

  3. 1. what’s with them burying the nuts meat and egg? and lighting a torch above it? It happens when near the end where she has the flower gown on

    2. who is lit aflame in the yellow room?

    We have: 1) mark stuffed with hay.. 2) the dude in the bear suit.. 3) london dude 4) volunteer 5) 2nd volunteer … 6) Connie ..7) the black guy ….then there two other stuffed bodies there. The two other bodies near the entrance? One has a tree sticking out of their mouth … the other has apples pouring out of them. I don’t remember this being explained. Who are the other two dead people ? It can’t be the two elders who jumped off the cliff bc their faces are intact

    3. Some are saying it is implied that their belief system is depicted as being real.. similar to how the cults beliefs turn out to be real in hereditary. I’m not sure I’m seeing where this movie does that.

    4. Is it ever explained why it’s never night time??

  4. I must say, I find the names of the main characters in this movie are interesting. Throughout the history, pagan folks have always hate people of religion, especially Christianity. That's why we see that "Christian's death" at the end. As for the name "Dani"… it is feminine form of Daniel, which is derived from the Hebrew dāni'ēl (God is my judge). The name appears in the Bible, where Daniel survives a night in a den of lions. Only Dani survives at the end…so,.. coincidence?

  5. Rise of the far right? REEEEEEEACHING. Ari Astar never said that, you said that. Can't get away from SJW no matter how hard you try.

  6. I just clicked on this video because it said R in the thumbnail and i thought of Richie toizer writing R+E on the kiss or love bridge

  7. You can analyze the crap out of all the "symbolism" you want, this movie SUCKS. No amount of historical white-washing can make this movie a work of art. This movie is an anti-male revenge movie of crazy female mental illness. The symbolism I see in this movie is that the visiting young people represent all of the naive millennials. They are naively attracted to the beauty of social justice and Communism, and the end shows them the reality of their folly…. HOW ABOUT THAT AS AN ANALYSIS OF SYMBOLISM???

  8. Did you not watch the movie? Why you pronounce the name like Pale?? 🤦 (U not the only one) but like how hard is it to say Pele — "Peh Leh"
    🙄 J h christ! 😂

  9. So this movie signifies don’t listen to your bro’s, they can betray you😏 listen to your girlfriend/boyfriend fellas and always be there for them, no matter how crumby their personal life is👀👀

  10. I just saw the misandrist midsommar. It was trippy, I liked hereditary way better. But the blonde is gonna go places. She gave a profound performance ..

  11. Awefull movie. Way too long also. This vid is looking way too deep into thing symbols and foreshadowing. The idea of the festival is to get new genes in the clan to prevent inbreeding.

  12. It's not in vain that the boy's name is Christian…. Like Pagan cults over Christian cults or some other close meaning for it

  13. Anyone trying to relate why Pelle said "my parents died in a fire" when talking to Dani about her parents death? I suppose his parents may have been burned in a ritual as this one and he may be the result of a previous impregnation? Pls comment about this possibility. I'm curious….

  14. Shocking ending? After what she had to deal with I saw something positive at the end, even if it was horrific. Well it did shock me so…

  15. Elders kill themselves at age 72, the ritual is only performed every 90 years. So nobody alive in the commune during the events of the movie ever witnessed one before, nor will be there for the next one. So how would this tradition endure, how would it be replicated exactly, and why would all the villagers act like they had done it all many times before? I liked Hereditary a lot, but Midsommar was a load.

  16. I guess those old people who jumped, didn't pass Assassin's Creed school. Oh well, "Everything is permitted, Nothing is true." So jump away cultists lol

  17. When the girls were doing the dance, they were falling down in a ridiculous manner, like they were faking it. They wanted Dani to eventually win. (Set up)

  18. haven't seen anyone mention this
    but they say its 18 years in the movie.
    which follows the trend of everything being 9's (2 x 9)
    so 1-18, 19-36, 37-54, 55-72. not 16
    but hey overall great points in this video

  19. Pelle showed Dani that his sister was last May Queen and then Pelle says to Dani that he know what she feels as he lost his parents on a fire in a building…. You guys know what happened there

  20. A Swedish fest gone wrong? False. It was a Pagan-ritual human-sacrifice, complete with live victims and stuffed human effigies, that went just as they had planned.

  21. Just watched this (Redbox rental)
    What a piece of shit movie! Boring, slow, ridiculous…don't waste 2 hours of your life watching this piece of crap.

  22. The scene where the two old people jump off the cliff was one of the creepiest scenes in the history of cinema. It made the end of Seven look like Sleepless in Seattle.

  23. I think it was obvious that they were all brought there on purpose and that the killing of the parents to make Danni in need of a new family was also pre meditated.

    Also did anyone notice how the British couple were invited by the other brother?

    He mentioned that he was 'going out' with the girl before she got together with her fiance so perhaps he wanted to exact revenge on the man who 'stole' his 'girlfriend'.

  24. The Swedish kid repeatedly referenced how his parents died in a fire. They, like him and his brother, more than likely brought others to the festival and sacraficed themselves in the temple. I would not be surprised in the context of the story that the 'oracle' is sacrificed in tandem with the birth of the new child in order symbolize a new cycle of life in the village.

  25. Just watched it last night, it was Ruten wearing Mark’s skin, not Olaf, Ruten was just distracting him so that Olaf could hit Josh from behind. Sorry if I got name spellings wrong.

  26. The symbol in the temple in the last scene, a combination of a diamond and an X. The X is a rune meaning "gift," ( as mentioned), but the diamond is the rune Wyrd, meaning "fate." So the full meaning would be "gift of fate."

  27. I can add a bit more information regarding that yellow flower, St. John's Wort. It's used by some people as a natural supplement to ease depression. The color shows up all over the movie in scenes that relate to depression and different ways to deal with depression. For instance, Dani's sister is wearing a yellow blouse when she kills herself and her family; and the building where the sacrifices are burned is both painted yellow and has yellow runes inside it – and when it finally collapses, Dani's depression lifts and she smiles.

  28. Thanks for a great analysis! I have three questions:
    1. Since you understand at least some of the Futhark symbols, do you know what the symbols on the Maypole mean?
    2. Ulf actually isn't the one who kills Josh. That's him in the doorway, all right, wearing Mark's skin and naked from the waist down. But Josh is struck from behind by someone wearing white trousers. I'm trying to figure out who that person might be and where they were hiding. I wonder if it was the mallet guy from the cliff-jumping scene.
    3. In the sacrifice scene, who were the already-dead villagers whose partial bodies were used to represent half the sacrifice from Harga?

  29. I was sure they'll show connection to dani's family suicide and her becoming the may queen
    Idk if this movie is upright genius or batshit crazy

  30. How about how they all feel each there pain! Like when the old man jumped and broke his leg everyone started screaming like they were also in the same pain until he was killed. Or when maya was having sex all the women around her had orgasm with her!! And at the end when they burned them alive same thing happened

  31. Well, in Sweden the Midsommar celebration never merged with John the Baptists supposed birthday. The church tried to, but failed. Today, only Midsommar and Valborg remain as celebrations without a christian cover story. So it is odd that John is refered to in the movie.

  32. So the red head puts her menstrual blood in Christian's drink and then the next day she gets impregnated? Does not make sense.

  33. This movie was very satanic the direction knows exactly what he did in this movie the murderes cult was great at brainwashing the movie has nothing to do with the breakup metaphor at all

  34. One thing I must say and it may sound a bit racist but, I can't help it. I had a pre-conception that white people can't look terrifying; it simply wasn't possible but, that broke when I saw that actress Isabel Grill who played Maja in this movie.

  35. Dani is next, the final sacrifice. There’s a mural depicting it in the scene where Dani’s flipping out while christian’s impregnating what’s her face. At quick glance, it looks like the queen in the background of the painting is watching the fire. But a closer look reveals she’s directly above the fire, burning on the maypole. The naked boys in the foreground provide perspective.

    Is there any reference to currently living past mayqueens?

  36. "The rise of the far right in Sweden." hahahahaha… More brainwashing. Sweden's current problems are a direct result of the far LEFT. It's actually not even funny how obvious that is. Wow…Blatant lying is just a normal thing in 2019.

  37. The pubic hair love spell, in my country….. it’s kinda a black magic or a dark way to make someone fall in love with you. There are rumors around that mistresses use this method to seduce taken/married men.

    Just wanna share that fact, in case anyone has a doubt that this is true. Oh, it is. This method still use to this day, just behind close doors.

  38. Re: the women with the deep red clothing accents in the final scene where Christian is in the wheelchair. Maja being one of them. Because she’s been impregnated. There’s another woman, I’m pretty sure the one who lured Mark away, who also is wearing deep red accents, but she’s also beaten up! Bruises and scrapes on her face. Does this mean she slept with Mark, and then in the process of killing/skinning him, she was injured? Did no one else see this?

  39. I had this sensation throughout the film… that Dani is like the embodiment of some scandinavian old pagan goddess… and that pelle 'recognise' her

  40. The way way you describe the runes are so messed up that you don't even know from which religion they come from,they are the ancient symbols of the Norse. As for the director he is using runes for his meaninglessness film. That "up arrow" rune is Teiwaz

  41. In the manner of the franchise mashup Alien vs. Predator, I'd like to see a "Sacrifice Off" – MidSommar cult vs. Paimon cult. Odds even I reckon.

  42. What's about all the mind altering substances and the psychedelia?
    Seems like crucial part, especially in the rituals and in the community in general

  43. This movie was super unrealistic and dumb or the characters were dumb? Culture or not soon as i saw gramps and granny jump from a cliff i would have convinced all my friends we're leaving not now but right now!! No way am i staying to do a fuckin thesis!!!

  44. These symbols you mentioned are less complicated than you imagined. They are called Runes, and is basically the viking alphabet.

  45. when i was watching the film, i felt like the girls in the dance competition let Dani to win so she can be May Queen.Anyone else felt same way ?Because all festival was like set up for her

  46. This review sure seems to take aim at Christian no wonder a female is narrating it. All Christian ever did was sacrifice his own happiness to take care of his emotionally needy girlfriend he wanted to break up with then stuck with because of what happened to her family. She was super clingly to him. That scene when he just wanted to leave the apartment but she kept begging him to stay was a good representation of their relationship. It's not like he wanted to cheat on her he was faithful to her what he wanted was to get out of a relationship he had no interests in because Dani had too many issues. It took him being drugged out his mind to sleep with that chick he had no interests in. It was a literally like the male version of being drugged and raped except the entire commune was in on it. Chris's biggest downfall was caring too much and not telling Dani that it was over. Women always play the guilty emotional card when a man wants to leave them.

  47. Whatever happened to the English chick? Clearly we all heard her getting killed, but we never saw her body… was she sacrificed or just killed off?

  48. Maybe they have a sacrificial festival every year, but the 90 year part alludes to the bringing in of an outsider, new blood, to mix with them as mentioned in the film. The festival would then be an extra special one held every 90 years.That being the case, the photos of previous queens would make sense and Pel mentioning his parents died in a fire, who were probably sacrificed in a festival when he was young, would make sense too.

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