by Danielle Julien
I am vastly unqualified to be telling you which movie released this year is the best. I have seen maybe 4 movies at the theater this year and maybe 3 or so others that were released to Netflix or Amazon. Although I have not seen many, I have seen some of the greatest, and one movie in particular stands out to me.
The first and foremost movie released in 2019 is Ari Aster’s Midsommar. While I connected with the main character, Dani (Florence Pugh), at the beginning of the movie because we have the same name, I quickly realized that I didn’t want to connect with her. Following Dani after a traumatic experience, most of Midsommar takes place in a small Swedish town during their special midsummer festival. Thanks to the bright scenery and all the happy Swedes we see when she arrives, we want to assume that this is going to be a good time. But, Midsommar is a horror movie directed by one sadistic man (if you’ve seen the greatest movie of 2018, Hereditary, you know what I mean). So, Dani is stuck in this festival with her awful boyfriend and his friends and she keeps getting dragged into “fun” festival activities. Hammers, drugs, paintings, flowers, dancing, bears, fire… and so many more fun things!
Near the end of the movie, after forcibly disconnecting myself from Dani, I realized I connected to her on a much deeper level than just our names. She is a young woman going through an incredibly hard moment and although some crazy stuff happens to her that has never happened to me, the point of the movie is that she overcomes everything. It doesn’t matter how we get over the things that happen to us (hopefully it doesn’t involve bears and fire) but as long as we get over the bad things we’ll be okay. The very last shot of Midsommar made me feel so incredibly full of love and happiness and I can still see it in my mind.
Besides Midsommar, I can argue for the greatness of Jordan Peele’s Us and I will admit that Tod Phillip’s Joker was pretty good. I saw The Farewell (Lulu Wang) impromptu over Labor Day weekend and although I was sleep-deprived and already emotional, it destroyed me so much with every progressive scene. There are so many other movies that I’m sad I still haven’t had the chance to watch, including The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot), Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, and the critically acclaimed Parasite by Bong Joon-ho. None, though, will compare to my viewing of Midsommer.
*image from IMDB