A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in ...
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A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in their jobs but slowly, agonizingly, she succumbs to a breakdown. Jenny is haunted by images and emotions from her past and eventually cannot function, either as a wife, a doctor or as an individual. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
"Face to Face" exists mostly as a showcase for one of Ingmar Bergman's favorite actresses, Liv Ullmann, and she gives a tour de force performance. She plays Jenny Isaakson, a psychiatrist who can't help herself when her mental illness sends her teetering over the brink into a complete emotional breakdown. The film is unrelenting, comprised of one merciless scene after another in which the camera rests in extreme closeup on Ullmann's face and captures the anguish writ large there. It's a tough watch, but it's also morbidly fascinating. I've always been interested in studies about mental illness, and "Face to Face" is one of the most realistic I've seen in showing how such an illness manifests itself.
Ullmann was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the year that Faye Dunaway won for "Network." The Academy had a tough decision on its hands that year. And Bergman also received a nomination for Best Director.
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