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The Best Intentions (1992)

Den goda viljan (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 10 July 1992 (USA)
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The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in ... See full summary »

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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Johan Åkerblom
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Karin Åkerblom
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Disponent Nordenson
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Alma Bergman
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Frida Strandberg
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Fredrik Bergman
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Ernst Åkerblom
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Carl Åkerblom
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Kyrkoherde Gransjö
Lena T. Hansson ...
Magda Säll
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Drottning Victoria
Elias Ringquist ...
Petrus Farg
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Freddy Paulin
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Storyline

The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in Uppsala. After their wedding Henrik becomes a priest in the north of Sweden. After a few years Anna can't stand living in the rural county with the uncouth people. She returns to Uppsala, Henrik stays in the north. Written by Robert Stroetgen <stroetgen@rrz.uni-hamburg.de>

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Ett filmepos av Bille August efter Ingmar Bergmans egna ord See more »


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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

10 July 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Best Intentions  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,253,106
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Trivia

The first time a husband and wife both won awards at the Cannes Film Festival in separate categories for the same film, Bille August winning the Palme d'Or for Best Film and his wife Pernilla winning for Best Actress. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Henrik Bergman: So, you don't want us to go on?
Anna Bergman: You know I do. I want nothing else. That is all I want.
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User Reviews

 
When the film's called "The Best Intentions," you know it's going to be an unhappy story
14 September 2016 | by See all my reviews

The winner of the Palme d'Or in 1992, The Best Intentions gave Danish director Bille August his second win of the highest award of the most prestigious film festival in the world, for a film Ingmar Bergman had written. Bergman himself never won the award and didn't direct The Best Intentions, even though he was still directing two decades after his fictional retirement with Fanny and Alexander (1982). If most people in English-speaking countries have never heard of The Best Intentions, there may be a reason- the vast majority would find a three-hour, subtitled unhappy marriage drama unappealing and boring. To some, however, there is a lot to recommend here.

The film touches on issues of faith, the role of church in a changing society, a deteriorating marriage- many topics of which appear throughout Bergman's filmography. A priest struggles on the outskirts of the world in a small community, believing he might do some good, but his wife is deeply unhappy. There are some conflicts with locals who do not like him, including for renting out the church for socialist meetings. Henrik himself is no saint, not particularly deep, sometimes violent against his wife- aspects we see of him as the fictionalized Edvard in Fanny and Alexander. But here we see him suffer a lot more, and it inspires sympathy. Edvard also suffers and I felt sympathy for him too, but Fanny and Alexander is not his film. In a way, The Best Intentions feels like both Ingmar's criticism and reconciliation with his deeply flawed parents.

The Petrus subplot also inspires sympathy and shock- the running to the stream scene is by far the most intense part of the film. It's definitely worth a mention, even if it makes a small part of the running time.


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