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View from the Top

I’ve been told by a shocking number of people that they think I would be more likely to join a cult than a sorority. And by shocking, I mean shockingly few, as I feel this is a truth evident in every action I take. It’s pretty clear at this point that I will never join a sorority. Sorry, mom. On the other hand, I feel I could excel in a cult. 

I bring this up because during the break, between suffering through summer colds, doing college applications, and staring blankly at my bedroom ceiling, I found time to watch the film “Midsommar.” Truly, no movie has affected me more deeply. For those unaware, “Midsommar” follows a group of Americans who visit rural Sweden to take part in a festival that occurs once every 90 years. Little do they know, it is actually being held by an unexpectdly gruesome cult. Despite the gory scenes the characters witness, only a few make (unsuccessful) attempts to leave. The main character, Dani, even chooses to join the cult.

I saw this movie in a nearly empty theatre at 1:20 in the afternoon. As I watched it, I thought, “You know, this kinda seems like a good time. I should get around to finally starting that cult.” Now, part of the draw was definitely the idyllic Swedish countryside and the cute Nordic-esque sundresses, but I could relate to the reason that Dani joined the cult. The cult offered Dani the empathy and emotional support that she couldn’t get from her friends, especially her boyfriend, Christian.

The cult member who invited the group expresses his doubts about Christian by asking Dani, “Do you feel held by him? Does he feel like a home to you?” She doesn’t respond, but clearly the answer is a solid “no” as the movie ends with her choosing him to be one of several sacrifices, having him burned alive.

The final shot of the film shows Dani in a flower crown, smiling into the camera, which looked incredibly similar to Marlborough graduation to me. And, the more I thought about it, the more commonalities between this Swedish Murder Cult and Marlborough appeared. There were some obvious ones, like how both the cult and Marlborough have uniforms. And the scene of Christian being burned alive gave me vivid flashbacks to holding a candle at Ring Ceremony and trying not to light someone’s dad on fire. But the deeper similarity I recognized was the empathy that both the cult and Marlborough offer.

I see the same sense of connection in the women of the cult hyperventilating and sobbing along with Dani as I do in one of my classmates tackling me in a hug everytime I cry. The ending of the film, with the cult all screaming in tandem with the burning sacrifices reminds me of the commiseration in a class group chat after a hard test. The strength of the cult’s community is so reminiscent of Marlborough’s. I know the comparison of Marlborough to a cult may seem in bad taste, but the point I am trying to make is this: Marlborough, I DO feel held by you! You DO feel like a home to me!