Wild Strawberries Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 27, 2007
Ingmar Bergman, 1918-2007
Super Reviewer
January 29, 2007
much less involved than many of bergman's other films, but profound in its simplicity. i was less impressed with the camera work than usual for his films, but the story lends itself well to introspection. charming.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2013
An aging professor has dreams and flashbacks to his youth as he drives to a university to accept an honorary degree. An elegiac reflection on an ordinary life; many people respond empathetically to this one, while it leaves many others (like me) a bit cold.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2013
Wild Strawberries is the quintessential Bergman film, touches on most of his favorite themes and becomes more rewarding and profound upon further viewings as one gets older. It's an intellectual, less schmaltzy European version of 'It's a Wonderful Life'.

The film is the odyssey of a rather cold, cerebral and elderly highly respected professor Isak Borg (Victor Sjostrom) as he goes on the road with his sensitive and prickly daughter in law to receive an out of town honor. Along the way, they visit Borg's even older and even colder 90 something mother.

Don't give up. The film initially seems to meander aimlessly. Numerous apparently unrelated events unfold, including a submersion into Borg's past memories, picking up a trio of young and naive hitchhikers, the rather prickly exchanges with the mother, an encounter with a bitter and unpleasant middle aged couple that have had a car crash, and various dark revelations by Marianne the daughter in law about her teetering marriage to Borg's difficult son, who has inherited his father's cold and isolating tendencies.

By the end, the film presents a unified whole of a man coming to terms with his life and taking down the high walls from others with which he has isolated himself. He forgives himself for his choices and his treatment of others, and is able to not only reconcile but express love for his pregnant daughter in law, the sensual and expressive Marianne, played by iconic Swedish beauty Ingrid Thulin. Look also for Bergman's favorite screen performer Max Von Sydow in a cameo performance as a small town gas station owner who reminds Borg of the good he has done in his life. He shows some range as he is convincing as a simple goodhearted working man, a contrast from his usual high minded, tortured intellectual characters.

The crisp and gorgeous black and white photography of Bergman's early collaborator Gunnar Fischer presents the story not in gritty documentary style, but in picturesque, highly contrasting stylized compositions. This is appropriate to the memories and elegiac retrospective of Borg's life. Rarely cited as a Bergman favorite due to it's rambling nature, quiet introspection and the subtlety of its revelations, it may be his best film. It's certainly his gentlest.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2008
I absolutely loved the other two Bergman films I've seen, and this one has a reputation for being one of his absolute best, but in all honesty, I really just couldn't get into this. Granted, I did like it enough to give it a small recommendation, but this is seriously overrated and not the work of genius it's touted as being.

Maybe I'm just tired of this sort of thing. Maybe I'm not as much into heady pretentious art cinema as I let on, or maybe, I'm in the right and everyone else has their blinders on?

Moving on, the plot follows a lonely 78 year-old widower professor who takes a long car ride to accept and honorary degree from his old university. Along the way, he meets some colorful characters, and, through a series of (often trippy and surreal) dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks, is forced to confront his troubled past, come to terms with how his life has ended up, and hopefully find some redemption before ceasing to be.

I do like movies like this that deal with journeys of discovery, and road movies, but for some reason, even though I liked The Virgin Spring, and The Seventh Seal, I just had a really hard time getting into this and caring as much as I should. It's slow, a little too boring at times, and rather hard to distinguish when the film isn't depicting reality.

I'm recommending it though, because it looks absolutely gorgeous in crisp black and white, the images and dream/nightmare sequences are tremendously stunning to look at, and the film does have some good performances. Like I said though, it's a bit hard to care at times, and it baffles me as to why this film is as lauded as it is. I mean, yeah, I get the style and great strengths at work, and the themes are good ones, but the main character is hard to relate to, and I feel like the film relies too much on the style to propel things.

All in all, yes, an important film, and a good one, but far from being the stellar absolute masterpiece that basically everyone but me and maybe a few others think it is. If you're wanting to get into the history of Euro art house cinema, then this is a required stop, and if you like heavy philosophical films then you might want to see this as well, However, don't expect it to be an easy watch, or something that, due to it's influence, doesn't have the impact and originality that it once did.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2011
Another absolute gem of a film from the great Ingmar Bergman, who this time takes a look at creeping death and how it starts to hit an accomplished medical professor (Victor Sjstrm) as he begins to accept the fact that the end of his life is near. While Bergman certainly takes his time, the images he puts on screen are downright stifling and arresting, with superb dialogue to ease the story along. Sjstrm is magnificent in the lead role, and the film has a great sense of mystery and subtle horror to it that I for one was fascinated during the entire duration of it. The ending is also unexpected, which is a pleasant surprise, seeing I could totally see Bergman go for the ultra-depressing route, which isn't the case here.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2011
Wild Strawberries is a spin on Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol. Isak, who as a young man was described as a sensitive and nice person, now as an old man is described by his daughter-in-law as, "Tough as nails." He begins to realize through dreams and the people around him that he has let his work corrupt him and make him selfish and greedy. Sounds a lot like Scrooge. He struggles with this realization and begins to make changes in his demeanor and how he acts. Ingmar Bergman is considered one of the best directors ever and for good reason. With Wild Strawberries he shows just how good why he is, with his always present techniques such as symbolism, which is always a huge part of his films.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
October 12, 2010
78 year old Dr. Isak Borg is receiving an honorary degree at Lund cathedral tomorrow, as he himself explains in the opening scene of "Wild Strawberries", a film by Ingmar Bergman. In the very same scene, he also claims "in our relations with other people we mainly discuss and evaluate their character and behavior, this is why I have withdrawn from nearly all so-called relations. This has made my old age rather lonely". It also doesn't help his isolation that he's a self-described "pedant". Rather than fly to Lund with his surly house keeper (and quite possibly, only friend), he chooses to drive the 14 hour trip with his daughter-in-law, a bluntly open woman who regards her "uncle" (as she calls him) as something of a fraud: a man whose benevolent exterior hides a selfish and ruthless old man. But why is Dr. Borg so cold and distant? As the film progresses, the doctor's past is revealed in a series of dreams and memories (and the line where one begins and the other ends is often blurred). The events that went into creating the loneliness of Dr. Borg's life are pulled back like the pedals of a flower.

When confronted with the looming shadow of death, Dr. Borg doesn't recall his lifetime of dedication to humanitarian work but instead re-lives the longlost loves and regrets of his youth. When his brother stole his betrothed away, the first instance that really toughened up the naive young Isak. All of Dr. Borg's flashbacks and hallucinatory dreams are voyeuristic in nature. He calls out to his one-time fiance Sara, only to watch in silence the moment when, while picking wild strawberries, she's swept off her feet by his ne'er-do-well brother. Maybe it's all psychological, in that it comes from one of his most deep-seated humiliations at the hands of his wife, dead for nearly 20 years. Or maybe it's just part of his lineage, as it is with his 96 year old mother, who's only purpose in life is to deny her great grandchildren their inheritance by staying alive, and his son Evald, who hates his life so much his only desire in life is a quick death. Bergman fleshes out the life of Dr. Isak Borg while at the same time bringing us more intimately closer to the universal fear of death. How do we live our lives and what regrets linger long after the people we love have turned to dust? Wild Strawberries is somehow both haunting and warm; in the end, we can find comfort in ourselves if our happy memories out-number our bad.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
An aging physician relives the defining events and turning points of his life through a series of dreams and flashbacks. Bergman's masterpiece, one of many, is unambiguous and universally identifiable.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2009
Quite simply one of the very, very best movies I have ever seen. Saw it recently for the second time, some 5 years after seeing it for the first time. First time round I was the age and stage of the traveling youngsters and saw the world through their eyes. This time I could identify more with the son and daughter-in-law characters with just as much conviction. The subtlety and sophistication of this movie defy description. It simply has to be seen to be believed. If you've never seen it, don't just sit there, go see the movie.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2008
Anyone who has ever felt a tinge of nostalgia or has sat down to reminisce will take something from this classic. Upbeat, hypnotic and simply beautiful Bergman utilises dream sequences as not only a symbolic device but also to represent memory, the past and the opinions of others. The tale of a simple road trip is transformed into the Odyssey of the mind for one older gentleman and like Bergman's fellow master Kurosawa it presents all those fears and regrets of growing old as well as celebrating a well lived life. Don't let the "art house" tag put you off it's a tale most people will be able to relate to.
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2007
Bergman constructs an intimate, cathartic, sad but hopeful examination of an old timer's last trip to redemption. moving and thought-provoking.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2007
over rated
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2006
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2012
After watching this movie I sat there, contemplating for a long time about what I had just seen. This is a well written, rare movie with existential subject matter as well as fine performances. One of the greatest films I have seen.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2013
Another masterpiece from Bergman with strong effectively laid out themes about aging and remembering past events.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2012
A story about Doctor Isak Borg (Victor Sjostrom) who struggles to find meaning to his life while facing the prospect of death is a moving one. Superbly written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, we all follow the doctor on a journey where he will be honoured for the fiftieth anniversary of receiving his degree. We find out through the real directing poetry, that for Doctor Borg, this journey is from life to death while he travels besieged by memories.

The original Swedish title is Smultronstället, which literally means "the wild strawberry patch", but idiomatically means an underrated gem of a place (often with personal or sentimental value) - and that is a perfect title for this classical work of art. . I watched it few times, since I was 13 and always managed to find something new in it... but Victor Sjöström's acting wasn't new... it was seen and perfect together with my favourite Ingrid Thulin. Bergman's immediate choice for the leading role of the old professor was Victor Sjöström (Bergman's silent film idol) and they both did a great job working together while Ingrid Thulin plays Marianne, the sad gentle and warm daughter-in-law of Borg. The interesting thing is that Bergman wrote the screenplay of Wild Strawberries in Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital (the workplace of Isak Borg).

This is one of the greatest films ever, if you ask me! It won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival, "Best Film" and "Best Actor" at the Mar del Plata Film Festival and won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 1960. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Original Screenplay. The film is included on the Vatican Best Films List, recommended for its portrayal of a man's "interior journey from pangs of regret and anxiety to a refreshing sense of peace and reconciliation". In a 1963 interview with Cinema magazine Stanley Kubrick listed the film as his second favourite of all time.

It should be on everyone's "must see" list!
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2011
As powerful and haunting, as it is genuine and beautiful. Ingmar Bergman films were, and still remain poetry for the screen. And Wild Strawberries is no different. It is my favorite Bergman film without question thanks to it's warm premise, thought-out techniques with the camera, and heartfelt performances. Specifically Victor Sjostrom's mere brilliance as the true protagonist. Bergman's films are some of the hardest to critique mainly because... it is art. Nothing less and nothing more. And though the film does not display the true moral that it is presenting, maybe that is why it is such a landmark of film making. Maybe we need more than one viewing to figure it out.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2011
Review Coming!
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