‘Midsommar’ Tells You Its Entire Plot Before It Even Begins


The Big Picture

  • The tapestry shown at the beginning of
    foreshadows the entire plot of the movie, including the deaths of the characters and the gruesome events.
  • Christian’s horrific death scene is hinted at in the tapestry and a painting shown early in the film.
  • The film is full of foreshadowing, showing you important details early on that play a large part in the film.

Ari Aster’s movies are pretty well-known as being not for the faint of heart. They often deal with some pretty heavy topics, and take disturbing turns throughout. But even knowing that, it can be hard to prepare for such a twisted film. Midsommar is Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, and though the two movies follow a similar theme of grief and loss, they’re both completely different from one another. Where Hereditary is dark both tonally and visually, Midsommar is full of vibrant colors and colorful characters that almost distract from the horrific things going on. Key word, almost. Midsommar purposefully distracts audiences with its idyllic setting so that the horror aspects hit all the more unexpectedly and feel a lot more messed up. There’s really no way to prepare for what Midsommar has in store. At least, not on a first-time viewing. But on a rewatch you realize that the movie tells you everything it has in store before it even starts.


A couple travels to Northern Europe to visit a rural hometown’s fabled Swedish mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

Release Date
July 3, 2019

Ari Aster


Main Genre

Ari Aster

Let the festivities begin.

‘Midsommar’ Tells You Its Entire Plot Before the Movie Begins

Midsommar begins with a tapestry. It’s busy and beautiful, and filled with intricate details and colors. Given that it’s what kicks off the movie, it simply feels like a way of setting the mood and vibe of the film. There are no immediate red flags, even if some parts look a little questionable, but by the time your eyebrows begin to raise the tapestry fades away and the movie begins. What follows is a two-hour-long spectacle of stunning colors, trippy visual effects, and horror so unimaginably uncomfortable you’ll be left wondering what the heck you just watched. But upon a rewatch, if you’re brave enough to do so, you’ll discover that the tapestry in the beginning has a lot more significance than being a tone-setter. It actually foreshadows the entirety of Midsommar.


The first panel, notably darker than the others, features a group of people, all entangled by a tube of some sort, and a skull overlooking them from above. This is a direct depiction of the beginning of the movie, when Dani’s (Florence Pugh) sister takes her own life, and in turn their parents, by way of carbon monoxide poisoning. With the skull representing their deaths. It’s a brutal first scene and though it sets the stage for the rest of the story, and Dani’s ultimate character arc, it doesn’t make it any less hard to watch. Directly following that scene, we skip ahead to a few months later, when Dani’s increasingly absent boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) reveals that he and his friends have planned a trip to Sweden. One of them, Josh (William Jackson Harper), is writing his thesis on European midsummer traditions, and their friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) just so happens to be from Sweden, specifically the Hälsingland region, and comes from an ancestral commune called Hårga. He invites his friends to come visit and experience their festivities, explaining that the festival only occurs once every 90 years, making the experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This directly correlates to the next panel in the tapestry, in which we see a woman weeping and being comforted by a man, all the while someone who looks strikingly like Pelle sits in a tree high above watching with glee — showing that Pelle orchestrated the entire thing.

We soon arrive in Sweden, and we, along with the characters, are stunned by the sight. It’s admittedly gorgeous, even though we know that the entire thing spells bad news. But the characters don’t know that, and so we follow them onwards as they enter the commune, greeted by people dressed in white. The tapestry once again reflects this scene. We first see the group following the Pelle-resembling figure, and then see them all standing in front of a crowd of people clad in white clothing. Something extra to be noted here is that one of the figures is wearing a jester hat, and upon further inspection, we can see that this is meant to be Mark (Will Poulter). Later in the film, we learn of a game called “Skin the Fool”, and Mark’s subsequent death eerily resembles the game. He’s taken away shortly after he’s yelled at for peeing on a scared tree, and though we don’t see him die, we do see someone wearing his face later on, meaning they quite literally skinned the fool. The jester hat placed atop his figure in the tapestry is a clever nod to his eventual fate.

Shortly after they arrive, the group gets to attend their first of many festivities: the ättestupa ceremony. Unbeknownst to them, an ättestupa ceremony is when two of the commune’s elderly members jump from a cliff onto the sharp rocks below. Taking their own lives to avoid the burden of others having to take care of them in their old age. It is explained by one of the commune members, that every member does this when they turn 72, and it is considered a great honor. We see this depicted in the tapestry; just above the group of people greeting Dani and her friends, we see a cliff and two winged people tumbling from it. It’s a lot less brutal in tapestry form, thankfully. And finally, the last piece of the tapestry depicts the banquet table, where we see everyone eating and rejoicing. We also see the iconic Maypole dance, which is arguably the most famous scene in the movie. During it, the women participate in a dance competition, in which Dani comes out victorious and is crowned May Queen. This gives her a renowned sense of belonging, something she’s desperately craved after losing those closest to her. Among the dancing figures on the tapestry, we can see skeletons, signifying that this scene was a turning point for Dani, and isn’t the joyous moment it seems to be.

Christian’s Death Is Foreshadowed

Christian has a particularly rough time throughout the movie. And though he’s certainly not winning “Boyfriend of the Year” or anything, he doesn’t deserve half of the things he goes through. He’s drugged multiple times, one of them resulting in paralyzation, and he’s forced into a mating ritual against his will. And to top it all off, he’s given a horrific death scene. The final time Christian is drugged, he wakes up and is told that he is unable to move or speak — which is a terrifying thing to learn to begin with. But we then watch as the commune cleans out the insides of a bear, and places Christian inside of it. He is then wheeled into a building alongside some other members of the commune, and is left inside, unable to move or speak, as the building goes up in flames. It’s completely horrific, and the fact that there was nothing he could do about it, no way to fight against it, makes it all the more chilling. On a second watch though, you may notice a few different hints towards it. The first being in the tapestry, where you can see a bear lounging. We see this bear throughout the movie, trapped inside a cage, and later being cleaned out for Christian to fit inside. But there’s another scene early on in the movie, when Dani is napping, in which we can see a painting directly above her that is too specific to be a coincidence. In it, a crowned girl is kissing the nose of a bear. This is meant to symbolize Dani and Christian. We obviously know that Christian ends up inside a bear, but it’s Dani who subjects him to his fiery end. She’s given a choice as May Queen to choose between him and a stranger, and she chooses him. As the building goes up in flames, we see Dani’s emotions change from sobbing in grief to an eerie smile.

‘Midsommar’ Is Full of Foreshadowing


Aside from the tapestry at the beginning of the film, which foretells the entire plot of Midsommar, there’s another scene later on which has an eerie significance. As we know, Christian is involved in a mating ritual with one of the commune members, Maja (Isabelle Grill), against his will. We do see early on that she has taken notice of him, smiling at him, and sneaking looks at him throughout the movie. But we don’t really notice just how severe her crush is until Christian is drugged and forced to participate in the mating ritual. But earlier in the movie, when Christian and his group are being shown around the commune, we see a long tapestry that depicts drawings of which we don’t entirely understand in the moment. It is called “love story” and if you pay close attention as the camera pans across it, you can see that it depicts each step of the commune’s mating ritual. And once you catch it, the weird occurrences Christian notices later on begin to make a lot more sense. Like why his lemonade is pink, and why there’s a hair inside his food. The movie doesn’t spell it out for you verbally but gives you all the clues to connect the dots yourself. That’s what is so great about Ari Aster’s movies. Every single thing you see is intentional, no matter how small, and they all play into the bigger picture. So if you’ve ever had questions about Midsommar’s plot, it’s likely that you’ll find your answer within the movie. Everything is orchestrated to a T, and it only makes the movie that much more frightening.

Midsommar is available to stream on Max in the U.S.



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