The 2019 horror film Midsommar by writer-director Ari Aster contains an impactful scene where protagonist Christian cheats on his girlfriend with a young woman from the pagan cult they are visiting. This striking sequence provides insight into Christian’s flaws and foreshadows his grim fate in the movie.
In this in-depth article, we’ll break down the symbolism and significance of Christian’s infidelity.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary: Christian’s cheating depicts his moral failings and highlights how he is exploited by the cult for their ritual sacrifices.
Buildup and Motivations for the Cheating
In the movie Midsommar, the character of Christian finds himself caught in a web of infidelity that ultimately leads to his downfall. Several factors contribute to his decision to cheat on his girlfriend, Dani, and explore a new relationship with Maja, a member of the Hårga cult.
Christian’s Crumbling Relationship
Christian’s relationship with Dani is on the verge of collapse even before their trip to Sweden. The death of Dani’s family has placed a significant strain on their bond, and Christian struggles to provide the emotional support she needs.
Their communication has broken down, and they are unable to connect on a deep level. This lack of intimacy and emotional fulfillment leaves Christian vulnerable to seeking validation and affection elsewhere.
His Attraction to Maja
Upon arriving at the Hårga commune, Christian is immediately drawn to Maja, a young woman who exudes sensuality and confidence. Maja’s seductive nature and the attention she showers upon Christian serve as a stark contrast to the emotional distance he experiences in his relationship with Dani.
The allure of something new and exciting becomes too enticing for Christian to resist.
Wanting to Experience the Cult’s Liberation
As Christian becomes more immersed in the Hårga cult, he is exposed to their unconventional beliefs and practices. The cult’s emphasis on liberation, exploration, and the breaking of societal norms appeals to Christian’s desire for personal growth and freedom.
He sees the cult as an opportunity to escape the monotonous and unfulfilling life he has been leading, which further motivates him to pursue a relationship with Maja.
Mise-en-Scene of the Sex Scene
The sex scene in the movie Midsommar involving Christian is a potent and visually striking moment that is carefully crafted through the elements of mise-en-scene. Let’s take a closer look at some of these elements that contribute to the overall impact of this scene.
The Billowing Floral Curtains
One of the most noticeable elements in the mise-en-scene of this sex scene is the billowing floral curtains that surround the room. These curtains create an ethereal and dreamlike atmosphere, adding a sense of beauty and sensuality to the scene.
The floral patterns on the curtains also symbolize fertility and nature, which are recurring themes throughout the film.
The use of these curtains not only enhances the visual appeal of the scene but also serves as a metaphor for the entrapment and seduction of Christian by Maja and the cult. The curtains envelop the characters, creating a sense of intimacy and confinement, mirroring the emotional and psychological entanglement Christian finds himself in.
Contrast Between Maja and Christian’s Girlfriend
Another significant aspect of the mise-en-scene in this sex scene is the stark contrast between Maja, who represents the allure of the cult, and Christian’s girlfriend, who symbolizes stability and familiarity.
Maja is depicted as a young, beautiful, and almost otherworldly figure, dressed in white and adorned with flowers.
On the other hand, Christian’s girlfriend is shown in plain and conventional clothing, representing the mundane and ordinary aspects of their relationship. This contrast highlights the temptation and allure of the forbidden, drawing Christian towards Maja and the cult, and ultimately leading to his infidelity.
Voyeuristic Camera Angles
The use of voyeuristic camera angles further emphasizes the intensity and illicit nature of the sex scene. The camera often takes on a subjective perspective, positioning the audience as voyeurs, peering into this private and intimate moment.
This technique blurs the line between the viewer and the characters, evoking a sense of discomfort and intrusion.
The voyeuristic camera angles also enhance the tension and suspense of the scene, as the audience becomes complicit in Christian’s betrayal. This technique allows the audience to experience the scene through Christian’s perspective, heightening the emotional impact and immersing them in the character’s moral dilemma.
Aftermath and Impact on Christian’s Fate
Christian’s ill-fated decision to betray Dani in Midsommar marks the beginning of his downfall. His infidelity sends shockwaves through their relationship and the entire community they find themselves in.
As the events unfold, we witness the catastrophic consequences of his actions and the profound impact it has on his fate.
Marks Christian’s Downfall
Christian’s infidelity acts as a catalyst for his subsequent demise. The act of cheating on Dani not only damages their trust but also exposes Christian’s true character. It becomes apparent that his lack of commitment and integrity are significant flaws that ultimately contribute to his tragic fate.
As the story progresses, we see how Christian’s actions are met with consequences that are both fitting and devastating.
Sets Up His Eventual Sacrifice
The infidelity scene involving Christian sets the stage for his eventual sacrifice. In the Midsommar community, betraying one’s partner is seen as a grave offense, and the punishment for such actions is severe.
Christian’s unfaithfulness becomes the perfect justification for the cult’s ritualistic practices, leading to a shocking climax where he becomes a central figure in a sacrificial ceremony. This turn of events not only highlights the impact of his actions but also serves as a powerful symbol of retribution.
Confirms His Lack of Integrity
Christian’s infidelity confirms what the audience may have suspected all along – his lack of integrity. Despite being in a committed relationship, he succumbs to temptation and cheats on Dani without hesitation.
This character flaw not only alienates him from the audience but also solidifies his role as an unsympathetic character. As the story progresses, viewers are left with no doubt that Christian’s actions are not only morally reprehensible but also indicative of his overall character.
Scene’s Significance in Overall Film
The infidelity scene involving Christian in the movie Midsommar holds great significance in the overall narrative. It serves as a pivotal moment that contributes to the film’s exploration of various themes and adds depth to the character dynamics.
Depicts Clash of Religions and Cultures
One of the key aspects highlighted in this scene is the clash of religions and cultures. Christian, a non-believer, finds himself immersed in the rituals and beliefs of a secluded Swedish cult. The scene portrays the tension between Christian’s skepticism and the fervent devotion of the cult members, showcasing the stark contrast between their worldviews.
This clash ultimately leads to the unraveling of Christian’s sense of identity and sets the stage for the events that follow.
Establishes a Dreamlike, Unsettled Tone
The infidelity scene also plays a vital role in establishing the dreamlike and unsettled tone that permeates throughout the film. Director Ari Aster masterfully crafts an atmosphere of unease and disorientation, and this scene serves as a prime example of his ability to create a sense of discomfort.
The use of surreal imagery and an eerie setting contributes to the overall sense of unease and adds to the film’s haunting nature.
Highlights Abuse of Outsiders by Cults
Another significant aspect depicted in the infidelity scene is the highlighting of the abuse of outsiders by cults. Christian, as an outsider, becomes a pawn in the cult’s twisted rituals and traditions.
This scene sheds light on the manipulation and exploitation that often occurs within cults, emphasizing the vulnerability of individuals who find themselves in unfamiliar and dangerous situations.
The infidelity scene in Midsommar not only serves as an integral part of the film’s narrative but also offers deeper insights into the clash of religions, the dreamlike tone, and the abuse of outsiders by cults.
It is a thought-provoking and impactful moment that resonates with viewers long after the credits roll.
Christian’s transgressive tryst in Midsommar provides critical insights into his weak morals and the malevolent agenda of the pagan cult. With vivid imagery and tense framing, the scene crystallizes Christian’s failings and foreshadows his grim end, while also deepening the film’s exploration of cultural and spiritual collisions.