Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) (1978)
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Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish expatriate who became one of Hollywood's greatest stars, and Ingmar Bergman, one of the world's most acclaimed filmmakers and Sweden's most honored director, worked together for the first and only time in this intensely personal drama about the troubled relationship between a mother and daughter. Charlotte (Ingrid Bergman) is an acclaimed concert pianist who is visiting her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann), the wife of a parson in a rural community, for the first time in seven years. While Charlotte and Eva struggle to be civil, there is a deep emotional gulf between them. Eva resents her mother for not caring enough for her as a child, feeling that Charlotte was more interested in her career and her other daughter, Helena (Lena Nyman), who is severely handicapped and can only communicate through inarticulate noises. Charlotte, on the other hand, is uncomfortable with the fact that Helena now lives with Eva, and she is still coming to terms with the emotional devastation of her husband's recent death. Herbstsonate, released in America as Autumn Sonata, earned Ingrid Bergman some of the most enthusiastic acclaim of her career; she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, and she won the same honor from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. It was also her last theatrical release; she would appear in only one more project, a TV movie about the life of Golda Meir, before her death in 1982. … More
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Critic Reviews for Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata)
The movie makes good chamber music: it's a crafted miniature with Bergman's usual bombast built, for once, into the plot requirements.
Of course Bergman's actresses suffer superbly in microscopic close-up, but the nagging doubt persists as to whether this is incisive psychodrama or just those old nordic blues again.
Autumn Sonata can finally be seen as an austerely beautiful meditation on death and the not-always-realized possibility of reconciliation across generations.
has a steady, accumulating power, and while it ranks high among Bergman's dramas, it is not quite a masterpiece, at least not on the level of Cries and Whispers (1972) and Scenes From a Marriage (1973), his signature films of the period.
This is not a comfortable movie, but it isn't meant to be. It's a difficult work, but that very difficulty is what makes it rewarding.
Ingmar says, "No." Ingrid says, "Yes." They're both right and both wrong, but it is Ingrid, in her last feature film performance, whose "Yes" carries more conviction and authority.
This very good Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman film is very easy to love for its honesty and passion ...
There is too much talk, talk, talk about feelings and not enough demonstration of them, but like cream, Ingrid keeps rising to the top of the chatter.
Ingrid Bergman won her last Oscar nomination for her very last feature in this intense mother-daughter melodrama, directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Though Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman aren't related, their pairing on a movie set was a long-anticipated event
Probes in an intelligent and affecting way the ambivalent feelings in mother-daughter relationships
With its raw performances and lyrical dialogue this is a sombre, resonant, lingering drama about family dysfunction and emotional frustration.
[It] absolutely overwhelms our senses and becomes for 92 minutes the only reality we can know.
Audience Reviews for Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata)
Ingrid is great as a totally self involved woman of great musical talent but no outward vision beyond how it serves her no matter how she tries. The rest of the film is dour and terribly depressing which of course is par for the course with Ingmar Bergman. We are suppose to empathize with Liv Ullman's character but she seems stunted by her bad childhood unable to realize that at some point you have to accept people as they are and get on with the business of living.More
This is one of the very best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen, and therefore one of the very best films.
Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullman are simply amazing together as a mother and daughter combination from hell. Ingrid Bergman is terrific, despite a deliberately naff hairdo which makes her look like Queen Elizabeth II of the UK rather than the faded beauty she is. Liv Ullman also has visual nuances to enhance her character - the glasses, platted hair and jumpers enabling this beautiful woman to look frumpy.
The acting is simply amazing, even through the subtitles you can tell. Fortunately Scandinavian vocal nuance is similar enough to English to enable us non-Swedish speakers to appreciate the acting.
Of course, it has the Ingmar Bergman darkness to it. The sister with the horrible degenerative disease, the drowned toddler, the selfishness of the Ingrid Bergman character. If you get depressed along with the characters in films like this, you might be better off giving this one a miss.
But for those with a taste for this type of claustrophobic drama, this is one of the most powerful films you will ever see.
I might be alone on this, but I prefer Autumn Sonata to Persona, Seventh Seal and maybe even Wild Strawberries. Wild Strawberries remains my favourite of Bergman's best but I believe Autumn Sonata is the better produced film, purely due to it's awesome script and the impeccable performances from Ullman and especially Bergman. Her performance, when put in perspective (she was dying of Cancer) is just amazing. I'm not ashamed to say that this film made me cry a little. Pure brilliance!More
Affecting less due to the story, and more due to observing still-radiant Ingrid Bergman in the twilight of her life. Otherwise, there's not much happening in the filmmaking beyond "warm lighting," and the script seems like just a case of Ingmar struggling to find new ways to make characters intensely miserable.More
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