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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 12,521 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

The film struck very close to home for Ingrid Bergman to the extent that she was quite shocked when she read the screenplay for the first time. It deals with a self-centered artist who leaves her children in their formative years to go off and pursue her career. During the late 40s, Bergman herself became a cause celebre by abandoning her family to run off with Italian film director, Roberto Rossellini. 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

Viktor: I'd like to tell her just for once that she is loved whole-heartedly but I can't say it in such a way that she'd believe me. I can't find the right words.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Dinner with Andre (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Suite Nr 4, Ess-dur
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as Bach)
Performed by Claude Genetay
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User Reviews

 
A PERFECT MOVIE
2 January 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What makes a movie perfect is not only the intensity of emotion you feel when seeing it, and it's not only the seamless matching of technique and artistry, it is the truth of feeling conveyed and the unrelenting attention to the details of the crafts of writing, acting, and directing, making certain that those details work together to create meaning - a view of life, and whatever forces are behind life, that are as varied, contradictory, and complete as a living being. It is this that Bergman managed to accomplish with AUTUMN SONATA. The hyperbolic use of the word 'perfect', too often spontaneously tossed out as a result of confused and mawkish sentimentality (just as one Liv Ulmann's interpretation of a Chopin prelude is described as mawkish in the film) has a right to be used in the case of this work. There are no demons or angels in this movie. There are a collection of remarkably real characters whose actions and their motivations are fully explained by themselves, in dialog that is explicit and direct but not delivered as an artificial way of getting across the creator's judgment on his characters. Ingrid Bergman, in what is doubtlessly the finest performance of her career, portrays a mother who has neglected her children all her life and is confronted by this fact by her grown daughter whose adoration as a child has turned into an apparently irreversible hatred. "There is no forgiveness" is a line uttered by Liv Ulmann after summarizing the crimes of her mother's neglect and the results of that neglect. And yet, the character's contradictory feelings are clearly seen in the moments when her need for vengeful expression of her pain has faded away. The daughter who has condemned her mother, quite honestly, wants to keep trying to resolve the conflict, to heal the gaping wounds in her heart and in her sister's heart - a sister who, arguably, has been physically crippled by the cold withdrawl of her mother's feelings and her mother's competitive need to be the leading female character in everyone's life. Ingrid Bergman's character, though seen as a villain in the emotional eyes of her daughter, comes across as complex as Ulmann's. She has an awareness of her crimes of neglect but remains helpless, by choice and by need, to confront them within herself and make amends to resolve them. Her own childhood is the reason. The isolation that she felt, instead of inspiring her to not repeat the mistake with her own children, took the course of isolation, of seeking praise from the outside, of being the central character in the lives of people around her. Her insatiable hunger for love from others, though, remains forever unsatisfied. Her selfishness, even though she is painfully aware of it, is something which she has learned how to hide from herself. Her methods, of physical distance or the perfection of her work as a pianist has, for all her adult life, successfully obfuscated her pain - until an all-night exposing of the naked truths of hurt and distrust that are thrust upon her by her daughter.

Anyone with a mother or father can find identification with the characters in AUTUMN SONATA, as long as they can tolerate the pain of the truth that lies at the center of their all-too-human needs and the hurtful action that those needs have caused.


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