Saturday, May 8, 2010

Autumn Sonata. B+


There's a scene in Ingmar Bergman's 'Autumn Sonata' in which the daughter watches her mother playing the piano and the daughter, instead of watching her mother's hands pound the keys, stares straight at her face. The look in her eyes connotes her sincere sadness and restrained anger towards her mother. That brilliant scene gets across everything Bergman is trying to convey with this heartbreaking, beautifully acted drama. 'Autumn Sonata' is not a very kinetic movie. The story it tells is incredibly simple; so much that it doesn't even need to leave the house where the entire film takes place. The film is about a mother and daughter who have failed to connect. The movie opens with the mother arriving at the daughter's home for what looks to be a wonderful visit. But it doesn't take long for us to realize that neither of them can stand each other's company. We know that something happened in the past, but we're not sure what. Then suddenly, out of no where, they begin a heavy argument during which many important truths are revealed concerning their shaky relationship. It is mostly the mother's fault, as we learn in the dramatic confrontations late in the movie, but we still manage to feel sympathy for her. This is of course attributed to Ingrid Bergman's gripping performance in which makes a pretty rotten person seem human. She's truly sensational in this, and though her age may have taken away her beauty, her acting is as good as it ever was. 'Autumn Sonata' is about human emotion and feelings. I loved how (Ingmar) Bergman approached the mother-daughter relationship. He didn't try to make the tension drag and he didn't put in irrelevant scenes for the sake of entertainment value. Rather he takes an extremely realistic approach and while the movie isn't necessarily entertaining, it's definitely a joy to watch.

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