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Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly) (1961)

Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)


Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 19
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 7,812


Movie Info

Ingmar Bergman won his second Best Foreign Film Oscar for the moody family drama Through a Glass Darkly. It is the first of what came to be called his "chamber dramas," which positioned four characters in one place where they could interact like a string quartet. It has also been referred to as the first of his trilogy of faith, followed by Winter Light and The Silence, dealing with issues of God and love. Shot in black-and-white and running only 90 minutes long, the film opens with a quote from … More

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jun 29, 1994
Criterion Collection



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Critic Reviews for Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

Through a Glass Darkly is one of the best and certainly the ripest of Ingmar Bergman's creations, a film as subtle as Wild Strawberries but solider in substance.

Full Review… | July 23, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

You can freeze almost any frame of this film and be looking at a striking still photograph.

Full Review… | July 23, 2013
Top Critic

Elaborately rhetorical at the end, this 1961 film nevertheless develops its theme lucidly and with some of Bergman's most unforgettable sequences.

Full Review… | July 23, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It is almost superfluous to note that the film is beautifully made: visually exquisite, ingeniously knit.

Full Review… | July 23, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Not a pleasant film, it is a great one.

Full Review… | August 1, 2007
Top Critic

Preserving a strict unity of time and place, this stark tale of a young woman's decline into insanity is set in a summer home on a holiday island.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Bergman's mastery with actors (there is absolutely never a bad performance in a single one of his films) and with the cinematic form (using space and mood to communicate his theme) is abundantly clear here.

Full Review… | August 16, 2010
Cinema Writer

A film in search of profound truths that it can only hint at having caught glimmerings of, and it's a truly remarkable experience.

Full Review… | August 29, 2007
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Bergman's wintry film has beautiful moments and Andersson gives a great performance, but the film can't shake the weight of the disease-of-the-week movie feel.

Full Review… | August 11, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

The first of Ingmar Bergman's bleak but outstanding films from his trilogy of chamber plays about faith, alienation and the emptiness of life.

Full Review… | August 7, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

[Features] The usual fine performances from Bergman's regulars combined with a script that is not as ponderous as much of the director's other works.

Full Review… | August 29, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Deservedly winning the 1961 Foreign Language Oscar, this gloomy and intense family drama, set on a romate island, is the first in a trilogy that explores issues of religion, faith, and human fraiglity.

Full Review… | July 4, 2005

A truly thoughtful and moving film about human nature and (of course) man's struggle with a higher power.

Full Review… | August 17, 2003

Enjoyable, intelligently constructed and technically remarkable.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

It's almost a wonder that it works at all.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

this was a decent film. near the bottom of my list for bergman films, really the whole trilogy is not among my favorites of his work. the acting was great and bergman got some wonderful shots. this movie was very slow however, and you really sort of miss the point until the last 30 minutes or so. a very simple film taking place on a single set, this film was made to convey a very simple point about hope and faith. the final scene is really great, and the move towards a more theater feel in bergmans work is interesting, but overall not among his best.

danny d

Super Reviewer

A gripping portrait of mental illness and family ties from a master director, and a film with a narrow focus and a cast of four (father, son, daughter, daughter's husband). Slow in the beginning but suddenly enrapturing, the stakes keep rising as we see the characters "mirror" each other's behaviour, frustrating each others' attempts at normal, intimate family relationships at every turn until we reach the harrowing conclusion. When I review, I prefer to get into specifics, but to me this is the kind of film that's probably better to go into blind, as it's full of surprises and subtle plot points that, while they won't look interesting in a summary - or an academic treatise, which one could easily write about this film - are captivating once you're into them. Watching it was an outstanding experience... I won't spoil it for you.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

I wonder if Ingmar Bergman purposefully kept the first third of Through A Glass Darkly dull and lifeless only to enhance the visuals and then performances of the second and third acts respectively. If he did then it certainly worked, I was pulled back in with a jolt just as I was beginning to loose interest. The performances are brilliant, particularly from Harriet Andersson, the writing is exquisite and after reading up on the chamber dramas as they've come to be known, I can't wait to see more. I would suggest this is only a suggestion of the greatness to come though, I liked it a lot but I don't love it. I seem to be in the minority in thinking that the b/w cinematography was below par considering how masterfully The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries were shot but I digress, this is cinematic brilliance.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


In a time so inundated with cinematic gimmickry, a filmmaker such as Ingmar Bergman would never succeed. Rather than fancy camera work, he relies on powerful framing and the story itself to move viewers.
The first film in his faith trilogy is starkly austere. Bergman's characters emerge from the water and enter a world of isolation. Not only isolated on an island that is surrounded by the silence and the serene, but emotionally isolated as well. Gunnar Bjornstrand plays the career obsessed patriarch whose forced and shallow attempts at reaching out to his family are obvious to all . Max Von Sydow is the husband who goes through all the right motions, but seems rather emotionless toward the wife he claims to love. Finally there is Karin, played wonderfully by Harriet Anderson. Karin is deemed mentally I'll, but her real suffering comes from the lack of God's presence. This yearning, this malady, she is conscious of, which makes God's silence all the more unbearable. What makes things worse is that those closest to her are unable and/or unwilling to understand her.
There aren't any major twists and turns, just an sincere look at the existence of a loving God.
In doing so, Bergman conjures not only powerful imagery, but also almighty observations about human existence.
We are so adroit at refining our lives and suppressing what we really feel, that we believe our lies to be truth. These aren't easy observations to swallow, but it is refreshing to know that a gifted storyteller like Bergman has tried.
It may be a bleak glimpse of humanity but I'll be damned if I ever find a film more honest than this.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly) Quotes

David the Father: We draw a magic circle and shut out everything that doesn't agree with our secret games. Each time life breaks the circle, the games turn grey and ridiculous. Then we draw a new circle and build a new defense. Karin: Poor little daddy. David the Father: Yes, poor little daddy, forced to live in reality.
– Submitted by Alexandar T (2 years ago)
Karin: The door opened, but the god was a spider. He came up to me and I saw his face. It was a terrible stoney face. He scrambled up and tried to penetrate me, but I defended myself. All along I saw his eyes. They were cold and calm. When he couldn't penetrate me he continued up my chest, up into my face and onto the wall. I have seen God.
– Submitted by Pete H (2 years ago)
Karin: He that loves for real always does right by his loved one.
– Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
Fredrik David's son known as Minus: Oblivion shall own me and death alone shall love me.
– Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)

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