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James Badge Dale
In 1950, a Hungarian couple, Peter and Margit, are forced to flee from the oppressive communist country for the USA with their eldest daughter Maria, but are forced to leave behind their infant daughter Suzanne who is raised by kindly foster couple. 6 years later, Peter and Margit arrange for the American Red Cross to bring Suzanne to their new home in Los Angeles where the perplexed youth is forced to accept her sudden change in home and country which leads to a troubled growing up. At age 15, the rebelious and unsure-of-herself Suzanne tries to come to terms with her roots and decides to travel back to Budapest, Hungary to find her true idenity. Written by
It is difficult to encompass this film in a few words. It is a compelling drama that is delicately crafted by the director and superbly acted by the entire cast. In those respects it is flawless. There are enchanting, and disturbing pictures of life in America and Hungary. The story is at once sad, and heartening. It is a film of contrasts, skillfully presented. It draws the emotions of the viewer along with it, and evokes genuine sympathies for all the characters. That is rare in any film.
A young girl is torn between her youthful memories of one world, and one set of parents, while trying to grow up in another world with her real family that she seems to barely know. She is caught emotionally between her memories of two diverse worlds. The conflicts come to a crisis when she is 16, and she decides that she must return to Hungary in order to resolve them. I was so enthralled by that premise, and the skill with which the story was crafted, that I was engrossed from start to finish. I'm not even sure if I blinked the entire time. The scenes on the Hungarian side paint a poignant picture of people trying to live under the hopelessness of the communist regime after the invasion by the Soviets in 1950.
Natassja Kinski is superb. Her role is a departure from past efforts but she, as always, delivers a sterling interpretation of her character. But Scarlet Johansson and Kelly Endresz Banlaki really steal the show. Their performances as Suzanne are understated and genuine. There are some minor plot flaws in "An American Rhapsody", but they are inconsequential compared to the superb emotional ride the story provides. Watch this one for the dramatic and irresistible acting.
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