Secrets of Women (Kvinnors Väntan) (Waiting Women)

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

In this multi-faceted Ingmar Bergman film, rich in dramatic and comic elements, three wives pass time in a summer house, awaiting the returns of their husbands, by entertaining each other with recollections of past marital traumas. In the first recollection, the sexually unfulfilled Rakel (Anita Bjork) shares a bathhouse, and more, with a former lover, Kaj (Jarl Kulle). When her emotionally withdrawn husband (Karl-Arne Holmsten), an antiques collector, returns and discovers the incident, he retreats to a garden hut and vows to kill himself. But he is dissuaded from self-destruction by his older brother, who blithely reassures him that an unfaithful wife is better than no wife! The narrator of this episode wearily allows that her husband is little more than a child. Marta (Maj-Brit Nilsson), the storytelling wife of the second episode, recalls her love affair and marriage to a Parisian artist (Birger Malmsten) whose family disapproved of the relationship. Included in her tale is a vivid child birthing. The third episode is a comic classic in which Bergman regulars Eva Dahlbeck and Gunnar Bjornstrand play emotionally estranged spouses who rekindle their marriage while trapped in an elevator. Kvinnors Väntan, which closes with the resolution of a framing tale involving the elopement of two younger lovers, shows Bergman in complete mastery of the film medium. Whether manipulating close-ups during an emotional give-and-take seduction or employing symbolic imagery to emphasize the joy of becoming a parent or merely allowing consummate pros to indulge in slapstick, he proves himself unfailingly adept at all facets of filmmaking. This is one of several lesser-known but nonetheless impressive Bergman films from the mid-1950s. ~ Les Stone, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Secrets of Women (Kvinnors Väntan) (Waiting Women)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (3)

  • The bounty of Bergman's many superb female performances notwithstanding, it's a shame he never worked with Nilsson again.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • The whole thing concludes with an ingenuous and typical Bergman paradox.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • More wistful than brooding.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • This mostly light-hearted comedy was written by Bergman during what he considered a dark time in his life -- which seems strange, considering how much fun the film is.

    Aug 29, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The drama takes precedence over comedy but the wry tone makes this one of the smoothest and most accessible films from the early stages of Bergman's career.

    May 24, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Secrets of Women (Kvinnors Väntan) (Waiting Women)

I love this movie; although not amongst Bergman's best, it is very funny in parts and should not be shunned. Perhaps slightly overlong - each time I watch it I wait impatiently for the lift-scene near the end of the film - but very much worthwhile. Indeed, the scene in the lift with Gunnar Bjornstrand (great actor) and Eva Dahlberg is fascinating, funny and frivolous - for the year it was made.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

A personal favorite from the early works of Bergman and possibly the most inspiring one (remember Woody Allen's homage on the elevator scene in Manhattan Murder Mystery).Feisty in its soaring delight,the film creates a warm affection towards women and this mysterious characteristic that makes the opposite sex so unique,even in their troublesome.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

"waiting women" is ingmar bergman's estrogenic anthem on women whose worlds are inevitably intertwined with their beloved male beings. it's narrated into three folds of stories: first one is about a woman who suffers from the dreariness of marital life is having an illicit affair then strangely her relationship is reinstated afterwards. second one is on a random romance of a playgirl and a painter with commitment issue, but she succumbs to his love after being conceived of his child. the third one is an elevator-confinement of a matron and her grudgy husband, thru this incident, their marriage gets revitalized with passions and mutual understandings. the endings gets enclosed poetically with an eloped couple on a leafy boat wandering upon the lake to seek their ideal realization of absolute love. to dub this flick feministic would be inappropriate since none of those women could resist their men, and they sacrifice their pride for the superiority of love. it is a very feminine flick which celebrates the theme of amour. the only uniqueness would be bergmen's camera angle to transform the shade of a tree into the premise of carnival tavern. and some sequences are trully oversentimentalized with an european kind of romanticism, such as the luring scene of the painter delivering note accompanied by the guitar singing in a lonesome midnight to enchant our woman protagonist. the pace is lyrically restful with overflowing emotions expressed in visionalized tranquility.

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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