Friday, 3 May 2013
Autumn Sonata (1978) - ★★★★½
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.'