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Autumn Sonata (1978)
"Höstsonaten" (original title)

 -  Drama | Music  -  October 1978 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 12,697 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 55 critic

A married daughter who longs for her mother's love gets visited by the latter, a successful concert pianist.

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Title: Autumn Sonata (1978)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Eva
Lena Nyman ...
Helena
Halvar Björk ...
Viktor
Marianne Aminoff ...
Charlotte's private secretary
Arne Bang-Hansen ...
Uncle Otto
...
Paul
...
Josef
Georg Løkkeberg ...
Leonardo
Mimi Pollak ...
Piano instructor
Linn Ullmann ...
Eva as a child
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Storyline

After having neglected her children for many years, world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva in her home. To her surprise she finds her other daughter, Helena, there as well. Helena is mentally disabled, and Eva has taken Helena out of the institution where their mother had placed her. The tension between Charlotte and Eva only builds up slowly, until a nightly conversation releases all the things they have wanted to tell each other. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Autumn Sonata  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 4,509,704 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Ingmar Bergman was essentially exiled from his native Sweden because of an ongoing battle with the tax authorities, the film was financed by his West German company, Personafilm GmbH, and Lew Grade's ITC Film, and shot in an old film studio outside Oslo in Norway. See more »

Goofs

In the dialogue scene where Charlotte is lying on the floor and Eva is sitting on the sofa behind her, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the curtains when the camera pans to Eva for a few seconds. See more »

Quotes

Eva: The mother's injuries are to be handed down to the daughter. The mother's failures are to be paid for by the daughter. The mother's unhappiness is to be the daughter's unhappiness. It's as if the umbilical cord had never been cut.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Liv & Ingmar (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonat F-dur, Opus 1
Written by George Frideric Handel (as Händel)
Performed by Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt and Anner Bylsma
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Bergman Masterpiece
22 December 2000 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

Generally, either "Seventh Seal" or "Persona" is the film that a critic will name if s/he is stuck with the task of naming Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement. A couple others might be named, but rarely do you hear a critic espouse the brilliance of "Autumn Sonata."

The first thing I noticed about this film is that it is, like "Cries and Whispers," nothing less than a painting. The textures, the warm reds and the close-ups of the faces of wounded souls, all combine to make the viewer realize that s/he is witnessing High Art.

Then there's the shot of Liv Ullman's wounded profile as she stares at her mother, Ingrid Bergman, while mother shows Liv how the Chopin piece should be played. It is an eloquent scene. Truly heartbreaking and unforgettable. One can feel Liv's pain begin to show itself: it is the painful shame of inadequacy and mediocrity made all the more shameful because it is mother inspiring these feelings in her.

Later, it's Liv's cruelty toward her mother in that unforgettable late night diatribe.

And finally, it's Liv's crippled sister and Ingrid's disgust at the thought that not only did mediocrity crawl out of her womb, but so did deformity and suffering.

The film is bleak (obviously) and the resolution is only slightly hopeful. It is however a masterpiece -- a film that reveals that what the world needs now is not Love, as the song proclaims, but Compassion and Grace. Liv Ullman is the only actress who can say these things without opening her mouth. Ingmar Bergman is the only filmmaker who can make a seemingly banal story into an eloquent prayer for redemption and reconciliation.

(CAUTION: Dont take mom to see it on mother's day ... unless...)


44 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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