Midsommar Ending Explained [The Cult’s Rituals]

Ari Aster’s horror film,  Midsommar, remains one of the unique offerings in the genre. Its storyline packs a blend of terror, uncanny folklore, and lavish summer beauty.

This combination vividly comes to life in its shocking conclusion, an ending leaving many viewers stunned.

“Midsommar” revolves around a group of friends who embark on a trip to a remote Swedish village to partake in a summer solstice festival. The film’s ending is both shocking and haunting, leaving many viewers questioning its true meaning.

In the climactic final scenes, the protagonist, Dani, played by Florence Pugh, is crowned the May Queen after winning a traditional dance competition. The May Queen holds a significant role in the festival, representing fertility and rebirth.

As part of the festivities, the community sacrifices outsiders and their own members as a form of cleansing ritual. Dani, unaware of this, is later faced with a choice to sacrifice her emotionally distant boyfriend, Christian, played by Jack Reynor, as the final offering.

Dani discovers Christian engaged in an intimate ritual with another woman and confronts him. Instead of leaving him, she decides to embrace her newfound role and chooses him as the ultimate sacrifice, symbolically severing the toxic relationship that has caused her immense pain throughout the film.

The village proceeds to place Christian inside a bear carcass and burn him alive, which signifies a literal and metaphorical purging.

The ending scene showcases Dani wearing a majestic flower crown, surrounded by the villagers, all unified and celebrating around a burning temple. While some may interpret this moment as a culmination of her acceptance and liberation, others see it as a descent into madness, questioning her mental state after witnessing such horrific events.

Brief overview of the movie Midsommar

Midsommar captures the journey of a young woman, Dani, trying to recuperate from a family tragedy. She embarks on a summer trip to Sweden with her boyfriend and friends.

Unbeknownst to them, this trip leads to a neo-pagan cult’s midsummer festival, an event oozing with eerie rituals and sacrificial customs. As the festival unfolds, Dani’s emotional trauma morphs into chilling horror.

Significance of the ending

The end of Midsommar stands symbolic. As Dani’s relationship with her boyfriend, Christian, deteriorates, she becomes deeply entwined with the cult’s traditions.

When she is crowned May Queen, it symbolizes her acceptance into the community she desperately seeks throughout the film. In retaliation to Christian’s infidelity, she chooses him as the final sacrifice.

This horrific act signifies Dani breaking free from her toxic past and embracing a new beginning with the cult. The movie concludes with Dani attaining a terrifying catharsis, mirroring her craving for belonging, acceptance, and the liberation from her grief and rocky relationship.

Here, Aster explores the depths of human emotions, portraying the lengths an individual could go to escape their despair.

This contemplation on personal trauma accentuated with the horrifying imagery of the Swedish midsummer festival paints a masterpiece that is Midsommar.

Plot Summary

Midsommar, a dreamy horror masterpiece from Director Ari Aster gained considerable acclaim for its unique rendition of storytelling.

The story unravels as a vivid nightmare, a folk horror tale that delves deep into themes of grief, trauma and relationship complexities.

Synopsis of the movie’s storyline

The narrative revolves around Dani and her boyfriend Christian who are on a rough patch in their relationship. Post a horrendous family incident, Dani along with Christian and his friends embark on a trip to Sweden.

The group decides to visit a secluded rural village to witness a once-in-a-lifetime Midsommar festival, a celebration that quickly turns into a horrifying nightmare.

Key events leading up to the ending

The climax of Midsommar concludes with a highly symbolic ritual; Dani, dressed in a flower crown and gown, witnesses her boyfriend being sacrificially offered in a temple set ablaze, marking the end of their strained relationship.

This heartrending, cathartic release steers Dani to the path of healing, leaving the audience to grapple with the profoundly psychological horror and thought-provoking narrative of Midsommar.

Symbolism and Themes

There’s a lot to unpack with Ari Aster’s psychological horror film, “Midsommar.” The movie, rife with graphic imagery and shocking narrative, draws viewers into a character-driven drama which is more of a breakup story than horror.

Brimming with symbolism and themes, Aster uses Swedish folklore to add depth to the narrative, creating an aesthetically provoking cinematic experience.

Analysis of the symbolic elements in the movie

Highly symbolic, “Midsommar” drums up a visually hallucinatory atmosphere. Meticulously crafted details, from the ritualistic killings, the unfolding of the May Queen ritual, to the imaginative floral imagery and the sun’s constant beating narrative create hidden metaphors.

Significant among them is the  bear symbol, representing Christian’s deceit, stuffed, and burned alive, akin to the deceptive facade he had crafted.

Exploration of the themes portrayed

Heavy with themes of grieftoxic relationships and emotional manipulation“Midsommar” portrays Dani’s transition from a place of emotional isolation to complete acceptance within a community.

Themes of the pagan worship and communal sharing starkly contrast her initial loneliness when the movie begins.

The stark contrast amplifies the realization that she has finally found solace, albeit in a terribly tragic way.

In the end, “Midsommar” tells us that the horror can be projected onto emotional despair, loss and the need to belong, rather than on monstrous figures.

From this perspective, one can glean the essence of the horrific reality the movie subliminally projects, making it indeed a unique and thought-provoking film.

The Cult’s Rituals

Unfolding the enigma that lies beneath the workings of any cult can be daunting. However, it intrigues the mind to understand the meticulous details behind the cult’s rituals and beliefs.

Examination of the cult’s rituals and beliefs

Any cult is typically characterized by a unique blend of rituals and beliefs. It is often intriguing to understand the whispers of ancient wisdom and idiosyncratic devotion that cloaks their practices.

It’s interesting to note that these rituals do not just exist as a solitary island but rather form the backbone of an interconnected system. Like a carefully crafted tapestry, they are skillfully woven into the overall encompassing narrative.

How they tie into the ending

A cult’s rituals and beliefs invariably determine its end. Their paradoxical nature often swims across the troubled waters of the mainstream, creating an imbalance.

Often, the ideological strings that hold the cult together gradually start loosening, leading to an inevitable decline. The ending points not merely to the fall of a cult but also paints a broader picture of cultural balance and social integration.

The reasons for a cult’s downfall might be inextricably linked with the very rituals and beliefs they fervidly upheld.

Interpretation of the Ending

A few seconds of stunned silence are all one can manage after watching the ending of Midsommar. The final scenes, filled with gory spectacle and chilling calmness, leave an imprint that stays with viewers for a long, unpredictable while.

Different interpretations of the ending

Casting a chilling stroke of sinister and the bizarre, the movie bids goodbye with an eerily tranquil Dani Ardor adorning a sickening crown of flowers.

While some interpret this as her brutally severing ties with her past and toxic relationships, others view it as Dani succumbing to the cult, losing her identity in the process.

Unpacking the open-ended nature of the conclusion

The genius of Director Ari Aster lies in the open-ended narrative of Midsommar’s conclusion. Is Dani fundamentally broken or finally free?

The paradoxical smile that spreads across Dani’s face in the final scene indicates both. Letting the audience decide serves to amplify the lasting impact of the film even more.

Enhancing discussions and debates, the ending of Midsommar is a perfect culmination of horror marinated with subtle symbolism and disconcerting implications.

A nightmare painted with flowers and daylight, the grandeur of this meticulously crafted folk horror refuses to stop haunting long after you’ve left the theater.

Director’s Intentions

A director’s intentions encapsulate the unique vision they bring when crafting the narratives of a film, particularly its ending.

The ending of a film can often leave audiences with a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts, mostly contemplating the director’s rationale behind the finale.

An understanding of the director’s intention provides a new depth of insight and clarity surrounding the grandeur finish of a movie.

Insights into the director’s vision and intentions for the ending

A film’s ending is not merely a concluding event; it is the director’s final reveal of the narrative tapestry intricately woven throughout the movie.

Interviews or statements that shed light on its meaning

Directors often open up about their views, vision, and thoughts in interviews, press meets, and social media platforms, sharing pearls of wisdom about the storytelling process and their particular decisions.

These declarations help unfold layers of complexity, shedding light on the film’s narrative threads and guiding audiences to better understand its thematic profundity.

Thus, they provide valuable context to help decode the film’s ending and the elemental intent behind it. Therefore, the audience should explore director interviews for enlightening insights on film narratives and endings.

Audience Reactions

When the credits rolled on Midsommar, the audience was left in a state of stunned silence. Astonishment, bewilderment, shock, and awe were common reactions.

The whispers over the popcorn quickly turned into an animated discussion about the provocative, controversial, and intricate ending.

Discussion of how audiences reacted to the ending

Many viewers felt the ending was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. On one hand, it was fulfilling to see the film’s protagonist, Dani, find some form of solace after enduring immense grief and an abusive relationship.

Her smile at the end seemed unusually nourishing, despite being in the face of horror. However, others felt the end was simply too intense, as the community’s practices were greatly horrific and shocking.

Controversies and varying opinions

Midsommar’s ending sparked an array of controversies and opinions. Part of the audience was captivated by the uncanny way the film explored themes of grief, trauma, and healing amid a gruesome backdrop of folk horror.

Others however, felt that the brutal ending overshadowed these themes, thereby diluting the impact of the narrative.

What was unequivocally agreed upon, however, was director Ari Aster’s knack for creating compelling cinematography.


As film enthusiasts navigate the labyrinthine narrative of Ari Aster’s film “Midsommar,” the denouement offers a mixed bag of emotions.

It is as if the viewers are submerged in a kaleidoscope of rich symbolism, folk horror aesthetics, and complex human relationships, all of which culminates in a stunning climax.

Summarizing the key points

Dani, the film’s protagonist, morphs from a grieving girlfriend to being crowned the May Queen of a sinister Swedish cult.

Meanwhile, her toxic boyfriend, Christian, meets a disturbingly fiery end, providing a cathartic release for Dani and the audience alike.

This barbaric ceremony, steeped in Pagan rituals, symbolizes Dani’s liberation from her tumultuous past and her toxic relationship, as she finally adopts a smile in the last frame.

Final thoughts on the ending and its impact

In conclusion, the ending of “Midsommar” paints murals of catharsis and liberation cloaked under the daylight horror. Despite its unsettling nature, it blossoms as an image of Dani’s newfound freedom.

It is a multi-layered ending, a payoff that rewards your patience, and leaves you deliberating over the folklore-infused narrative long after the curtain falls.

This enigmatic finale indelibly stamps Aster’s prowess in the genre of horror storytelling.


  • Pravin Kumar

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