Wild Strawberries

1957

Wild Strawberries

Critics Consensus

Wild Strawberries were never so bittersweet as Ingmar Bergman's beautifully written and filmed look at one man's nostalgic journey into the past.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 43

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,596
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Movie Info

Possibly Ingmar Bergman's greatest film, this profound character study chronicles an automobile trip taken by an elderly medical professor to accept an honorary degree. Incidents and conversations occurring during the journey are intermixed with dreams and memories as the old man comes to terms with the life he has lived.

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Critic Reviews for Wild Strawberries

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Wild Strawberries

  • Apr 15, 2016
    This is a quiet film, with an old man reflecting back on his life as he travels to an awards ceremony with his daughter-in-law. It may sound too sedate to hold one's interest, but it does. Through dream sequences filled with symbolism and dialog with people he meets along the way, we get a picture painted of his life, its key moments, and how he evolved over time. We see the common thread - his serious, intelligent, considerate, yet cool and judgmental personality - and how that made him a very successful doctor, but created difficulties in his personal life. We see how he lost the real love of his life when she was picking wild strawberries and his own more passionate brother pursued her, and how his subsequent marriage to another was plagued with strife and his wife's infidelity. We see how this carried down to his son, his unhappy childhood, his depression, and the difficulty he has in his own marriage. We also see the perils of old age, seeing death coming, being sentimental, and fearing becoming obsolete. We see that despite his brilliant career and the very prestigious award he's just been given, the most meaningful, happy moment in his life was simply fishing on a peaceful day with his father, a sentiment which has a 'Rosebud' feel to it. The film is not heavy or hard to watch and just enjoy Bergman's storytelling, but at the same time it does have a weightiness to it - in recalling the soul-crushing moments of sadness in life, in his sentimental reflections of his childhood, in his weighing in on two younger men's debate about God's existence ("I see His traces wherever flowers bloom"), and as he thinks about his mortality. Some comic relief is provided in his relationship with housekeeper, who brings a smile when she leaves her door ajar as she goes to bed in case he "wants anything", after having bickered with him for the entire movie (and presumably decades of their lives). I don't see the film as being optimistic or pessimistic, or as much 'warmer' than his other work, though other viewers certainly seem to and there are moments of charm, such as when the young woman of the three he gives a ride to talks to him, asks him for advice, and sweetly says she loves him as they part. Bibi Andersson played both this role and the role of the girl in the strawberry patch that he lost, which has a certain symmetry and renewal to it. However, I think the movie is realistic and balanced, with just as much bittersweetness as sweetness - even the married couple they nearly get into a car accident with make endless snide comments about one another - and its genius is in showing us truths about life that are common to us all. While the movie doesn't preach or overtly push a message, you realize just how hard it is to lead a virtuous, positive life without regrets - and reflect on your own life, where you place priorities, how you treat people, whether you appreciate the small moments, or recognize the pivotal ones - all the things that you will probably remember at the end. Great art does this, spur reflection, and that's the case with 'Wild Strawberries'. Don't believe all the hype, but at the same time, don't be intimidated either - this would be a good one to see.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    Wild Strawberries is a pensive film, and has a rustic charm to it, but is never overly sentimental. The film is bittersweet, but is not the bitter melancholy of other films such as Winter Light. As with other Bergman films, Wild Strawberries features very good acting and gorgeous black-and-white. It is a film that is easy to recommend.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 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.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 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.
    Josh M Super Reviewer

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