Despite how gruesome the ending of Midsommar may have been, for the movie’s director Ari Aster, there was some personal meaning behind it. Aster also wrote the screenplay for this movie and is also known for writing and directing 2018 horror film Hereditary.

Warning: this post contains spoilers.

In the film, protagonists Dani and Christian’s relationship has been on the rocks, and Christian’s friends have been encouraging him to get out of it. Christian is invited to a commune in Sweden by his friend Pelle, and his two other friends Josh and Mark are invited as well. When Dani discovers this trip, Christian then ends up inviting her, even though that isn’t what his friends wanted. Once they all get to Sweden, they learn that the commune isn’t what they expected. In the film, Christian is forced by the women of the commune to impregnate one of the commune’s members, Maja. He was drugged when doing so and elder women of the commune watched the event occur.

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Towards the end of the movie, the people of commune explain that they have a ritual where nine human lives must be sacrificed. Since Dani is crowned the May Queen in film, she gets to choose if the final human to be sacrificed will be an outsider or someone from the commune. And of course, since she is heartbroken by the discovery that Christian has slept with someone else, she chooses Christian. Christian’s death is quite gruesome and consists of him being stuffed into a disemboweled bear and then burned to death.

At a recent screening of the movie, Aster had explained to EW that while writing this movie, he was going through a break-up at the time himself, and he was then able to find a way to combine the folk-horror subgenre with the theme of a break-up movie.

“For me, the film was always a preserve wish fulfillment, a fantasy that was playing with a kind of catharsis I hope people will have to wrestle with. I hope it will also have people cheering and then maybe hopefully later on contending with that a little bit more,” he said.