In all the ways that matter, I hated Midsommar. Much like Hereditary before it, I so wanted to like it, and I so, so did not. Ari Aster, whom I appreciate for creating such meaty, nuanced roles for the likes of Toni Collette and Florence Pugh, two of the best, most under-recognized actresses working today, is not, in my opinion, is perhaps not an untalented storyteller, but he is not my cup of tea. And that’s fine.
But somewhere inside the nonsense that is Midsommar, there is a beautiful concept of time that has stuck with me since I saw the film, one that I really like. It is essentially the idea that life, each of our lives, is comprised of seasons, and that each season serves a different purpose in the grand scheme of our lives, and that by fulfilling the purpose of each season during the designated cycle, then moving on to the next, we get to experience the full spectrum of life. This isn’t a new concept, obviously, it’s been articulated before by countless others in one form or another, from the Bible to The Byrds. But something about the way Aster presented it, perhaps the fact he actually quantified it by proposing age ranges for each of the seasons (i.e., four cycles of 18 years each), really hit for me.
As I’ve said on here before, in just about all things, I’m a searcher. This has its pros and cons, but generally it often results in my feeling crushing, perpetual anxiety about never being able to do or be or experience all the things I want in life. I live in a state of absolute terror of waste: wasted time, wasted youth, wasted opportunities, wasted potential. I’ve known so many people who feel they’ve wasted their lives, or wasted parts of themselves, and I just never, ever want to feel that way. Because of this, I am prone to focus less on all of the things I am and have done in life, and instead to dwell and indeed obsess over all of the things I’m not, and haven’t done that I’ve wanted to.
But when I think of my life, as Aster suggests, not just as one long, straight road towards death, but as a series of cycles, of seasons, I take comfort in the fact that I still have so much time left in which to do all of the things I hope to, and that, what’s more, maybe I am, in the big picture, right where I am supposed to be. All of the things I haven’t yet gotten to are perhaps things that are meant to come later, and that I will get to when the time is right. Maybe I haven’t wasted anything yet. Maybe if I’m smart about it, and plan wisely, I never will.
It’s a deep, heavy idea to think about, but a nice one. A reassuring one. One that I intend to hold onto. So for that alone, I’ll say that even this wild and exasperating movie is not a complete waste. In all that chaos, there is fertility.