[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for the ending of “Midsommar.”]
Ari Aster saves perhaps the biggest “Midsommar” shock for the film’s final 10 minutes. After being named the May Queen of the Swedish midsummer celebration, Dani (Florence Pugh) gets the honor of choosing a person attending the event to be sacrificed. Moments later it’s revealed the chosen sacrifice is Christian (Jake Reynor), Dani’s boyfriend, who has spent the film proving what a bad partner he is, including getting caught having sex with one of the villagers in a ritualistic sex orgy. Dani caught Christian in the act shortly before having to make her decision which festival attendee to kill.
In an interview with USA Today, Pugh and director Aster get into a minor disagreement over the specifics of the film’s last twist. Pugh said she played the scene as if Dani had a full mental break following her discovery of Christian’s infidelity. As Christian is prepared for the sacrifice and then burned alive in the yellow temple, Pugh said Dani is so far gone that she doesn’t even realize the details of what’s happening.
“I thought it would be so interesting to have the love of her life in the building and she’s a kid looking at a firework,” Pugh said. “That’s how I imagined it, saying, ‘This is someone that’s completely gone now. She doesn’t realize what’s going on, and she’s just really happy the fire is going up.’ So when we shot it, that’s what I was trying to get at.”