Friday, 3 May 2013

Autumn Sonata (1978) - ★★★★½

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Writer: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, Halvar Bjork, Lena Nyman

Autumn Sonata is an amazing and engrossing film about the damaged relationship between a mother and her daughter. Ingrid Bergman has given many unforgettable performances, from Casablanca (1942) to Anastasia (1956). Her performance in Autumn Sonata stands as one of her very best, playing a fragile woman full of fears who always puts on a facade of happiness. I originally watched this film to see Bergman's performance; but I was most surprised at the depth and feeling of the subject matter and dialogue in this film. It turns out to be one of Ingmar Bergman's best.

It's about a woman (Ingrid Bergman) who couldn't be a mother, or a wife, or a friend, or even a normal person. She never listens, she's an escapist, an emotionally crippled person that can't understand the emotions of other people. When she visits her daughter (Liv Ullmann) after many years of avoiding her, the truth of past events finally gets revealed in a stunning climax.

The dialogue and discussion in this film is raw and powerful. There are a number of different topics and themes explored throughout, each with great detail and respect. My favourite part of the movie is when the daughter fully explains the detrimental effects her mother had on her. "The mother's injuries are to be handed down to the daughter. The mother's failures are to be paid for by the daughter. The mother's unhappiness is to be the daughter's unhappiness." There's so much truth to what the characters say, the only word for it is 'masterpiece.'

Ingrid Bergman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actresses ever to grace the silver screen. In Autumn Sonata, she was so damaged, so frail, yet she acted as if she was strong and resilient. We could see who the mother truly was on the inside while she pretended to be someone else on the outside. It was an extraordinary performance. Liv Ullman, in my opinion, outshone the great Ingrid Bergman. The pain inside her and hatred she felt towards her mother was always noticeable, even when she smiled and put on a brave face. You knew she was hurt deeply, however, you could always see glimmers of hope and even love towards her mother. So the mystery of what happened between the two gradually builds up until an explosive climax of emotional confessions.

Above all, this film is interesting. The characters work because they are so human. They're far from perfect, everyone knows someone like the mother. This film never loses intrigue, right up to the end we want to see and know everything about the mother and daughter. I loved Autumn Sonata for its perfect performances and powerful dialogue. It's a story that remains relevant to mothers and daughters today. Although family drama isn't everyone's cup of tea, it happens to be one of my favourites.

No comments:

Post a Comment