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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 12,062 users  
Reviews: 56 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
See  »
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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

Charlotte Andergast: Only through music I did have a chance to show my feelings.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000) 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

 
painful! magnificent!
22 November 2000 | by (Houston) – See all my reviews

ingrid berman was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly before she agreed to star in this film. due to the fact that insurance companies in hollywood rarely secure contracts with ill actors, ingrid had to take what she could while she was still alive. i don't know what her financial situation was at the time, but i do know that her fee for starring in this film was much less than she was used to. yet, despite her condition, this became, to me at least, her swan-song performance.

during ingrid's prime, she had considerable control of her image in hollywood. she was portrayed, more often than not, as a strong and goddess-like character (casablanca, anyone?). in this film, however, all control of imaging was in the hands of her swedish counterparts ingmar bergman and sven nykvist, and the image they created of her was deconstructive of her screen persona, yet not in her brilliance and ability as an actress.

ingrid hated working with them, though. ingmar would command long takes, and sven would put the camera inches from her face. yet this technique showed a side of ingrid the world has never seen before.

ingrid's character,charlotte, is a successful concert pianist yet unsuccessful mother who returns to see her two daughters and a son-in-law. one daughter is married, yet is incapable of feeling love. and the other (helena, played by 60's swedish film star lena nyman) is left virtually paralyzed. she returns to visit after 7 years, and that's when the sparks fly.

liv ullman, who plays eva, (the married daughter), has usually been portayed as a non-confrontational person in her collaborations with ingmar, yet her persona in this film is slightly reserved in the beginning, but all her inhibitions are unleashed upon charlotte. i've always remembered ingrid as a beautiful painted rose on the screen (for whom the bell tolls, anyone?), but when this film ends, all we see is ingrid's tear-stained face. this may be ingmar's own reaction to his own short-comings as a husband and father (7 kids/4 marriages). in an effort to deconstruct himself, he looked at another icon to drive home his point of childhood pain and adult insecurities.

at this films end, the most punishing scenes occur. i'm not going to spoil it for you, but it's the scene when eva walks amongst cemetery headstones while charlotte takes the train out of town. i hate to admit it, but there was a lump in my throat at this point in the film.

although i praise this film, i wouldn't give this movie a 10 because of nyman's character. although her scene in the beginning is powerful, her other two appearances,(although brief) are way over-the-top, almost as bad as jar-jar binks in phantom menace.

i could write more, but i want everyone who reads this to go see this movie without my crappy opinions ruining it. it's not often that people see a film with such realistic portrrait of the human condition. and as i said earlier, ingrid and ignmar have rarely (maybe never)been better.

9 out of 10 (***1/2 out of ****)


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