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There are so many depraved and outrageous things to discuss about Midsommar that we’ve mostly avoided one topic that always draws a crowd: lead character dick. Central actor Jack Reynor, who plays Christian, bares it all for an extended period of time in this year’s most complicated and disturbing horror movie, but apparently it wasn’t some tense or long-winded negotiation to get him to do it. In fact, he pushed director Ari Aster to go even harder and even longer on the full frontal shots (Hat Tip: Michael Scott).
His viewpoint came out earlier this week during a conversation with Variety, and within the context of the film, it makes a lot of sense. Midsommar goes hard in every way possible and cutting around his penis would have felt out of place given the film’s willingness to show everything else in graphic detail. Here’s the larger quote from Jack Reynor…
I was advocating for as much full frontal as possible. I felt like it was really important. When I read the script, I saw an opportunity to take a character who exhibits a lot of archetypal male characteristics — like male toxicity — who has all of the stuff stripped away from him through the course of the film and then ultimately finds himself in this situation which is kind of the ultimate humiliation…It was always intentional to have the full frontal. That was what Ari wanted to do. But I was really saying, ‘We got to do as much of this as possible.’
Midsommar isn’t the type of movie you just casually recommend to everyone you know. Lead actress Florence Pugh, who was overwhelmed the first time she saw the movie, later called it a "beautiful nightmare", and she's definitely not wrong. I’m a connoisseur of filth, and there were parts I had trouble sitting through. If you’re a fan of aggressive and uncompromising horror, however, Midsommar is absolutely something you need to experience. It’s just too weird and there’s too much going on to not talk about like, for example, the penis scene he’s referencing.
Warning: the following paragraphs contain some spoilers for Midsommar. I’m not going to blow-by-blow outline the entire film, but I am going to talk specifically about the scene in question which occurs later in the movie. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, stop what you’re doing, leave this tab open, drive to your local theater, see Midsommar, drive back home and then finish reading this article.
So, the scene in question, is basically a mating ritual. The lead character is drugged, disrobed by a bunch of naked women of various ages and then voluntold to have sex with a creepy girl who is, I guess, of legal age but behaves as if she’s much younger. Anyway, he has sex with her while these naked women chant. At one point, one of the old women even grabs his butt cheeks and helps him push. It’s a wild situation, and after he finishes, he escapes, fully naked, and wanders around the buildings, sometimes very aware and seemingly embarrassed by his nudity and sometimes so overwhelmed by the situation he doesn’t cover himself.
You can feel how lost and confused and overwhelmed he is. It really does feel like he’s had everything stripped away and taken from him, and given we had just been shown a half dozen or so fully naked women chanting, a PG-13 style cut with lots of butt shots would have been jarring and out of place. It also would have blunted some of the emotional intensity. In short, it was well handled by everyone involved.