An American Rhapsody (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though obviously a labor of love, American Rhapsody is an uneven, heavy-handed effort, particularly in the second half.

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Movie Info

A true story based on the life story of writer/director Eva Gardos, this film depicts the personal odyssey of a family's escape from Communist Hungary. One night, Margaret (Nastassja Kinski) and Peter (Tony Goldwyn) arrange to escape Hungary with their eldest daughter in tow, forcing them to leave behind their youngest, Suzanne, in the care of Margaret's mother. When the mother is separated from the young child, she goes to live in a peaceful Eastern European countryside with a loving man and woman who raise her until age six, where Suzanne is sent for by her birth parents, now living in America. She finds the adjustment difficult and does not fully comprehend that Margaret and Peter are her parents, but she is willing to stay, and if she feels the same way in several years, Peter has agreed to give her a ticket back to Hungary. Later, as a rebellious teenager (played by Scarlett Johansson), with Margaret becoming a highly overprotective mother, she takes her father up on his offer to go back and reconnect with those who raised her as a child. While in Hungary, she has a change of heart , however, and discovers her true identity. The feature also co-stars Mae Whitman, Emmy Rossum, and Larisa Oleynik.
PG-13 (for some violent content and thematic material)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Mae Whitman
as Young Maria
Larisa Oleynik
as Maria at 18
Colleen Camp
as Dottie
Emmy Rossum
as Sheila
Kelly Endresz Banlaki
as Suzanne at Age 6
Kata Dobó
as Claire
Raffaella Bansagi
as Infant Suzanne
Klaudia Szabo
as Maria at Age 4
Zsolt Zágoni
as Russian Soldier
Carlos Laszlo Weiner
as Boy on Train
Bori Kereszturi
as Suzanne at Age 3
Don Pugsley
as Cafe Supervisor
Imola Gaspar
as Stewardess
Tatyana Kanavka
as Girl in Airport
Lorna Scott
as Neighbor with Poodle
Sandra Staggs
as Saleswoman
Robert Lesser
as Harold
Lou Beach
as Party-goer
Marlee Jackson
as Sheila at 7
Kati Bacs
as Woman No. 1 at Market
Zsuzsa Szager
as Woman No. 2 at Market
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Critic Reviews for An American Rhapsody

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (25)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | November 19, 2008
Top Critic

The States becomes an apple-pie wonderland of Elvis and Coca-Cola, the old country either a gray police state or, in scenes of Suzanne's happy childhood, a pastoral haven.

Full Review… | October 29, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

An American Rhapsody, in its straightforward way, earns its emotions.

September 14, 2001
Boston Globe
Top Critic

An American Rhapsody speaks from the heart to the heart.

September 7, 2001
Detroit News
Top Critic

This should be a fascinating story, but An American Rhapsody never develops a melody or a rhythm, much less the epiphany the title suggests.

Full Review… | September 7, 2001
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

The film is never less than engaging.

September 6, 2001
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for An American Rhapsody

Based on a true story, An American Rhapsody is an inspiring tale of heroism and self-sacrifice. When a Hungarian family flees to America to escape from the oppressive Communist regime the youngest daughter is separated and left behind, but years later when she is reunited with her family she feels caught between two worlds. Unfortunately, the film is poorly structured and isn't able to build any suspense or momentum. Additionally, the characters aren't developed very well, and never really connect with the audience. So while the story is quite interesting, An American Rhapsody suffers from weak filmmaking.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer


Not a blockbuster, but an interesting true story family drama. The casting director of this movie sure knew talent when they saw it. All throughout the film we are blessed with many up and comings..especially Scarlett Johansson. The movie itself is made-for-tv quality, and slightly better than average.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

This movie is really good. It's about a wealthy family that ran to america due to a cold war. They go to america to live the american dream, except that they have to leave thier youngest daughter behind due to her being a baby. Years later they get her back and go through problems like all families do.

Jeannette Garcia
Jeannette Garcia

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