With her husband Eric at a medical congress in Chicago and their fourteen year old daughter at riding camp for the summer, psychiatrist Dr. Jenny Isaksson has emptied out their old house while their new house is being built, and has moved in with her grandparents in the house in which she grew up, she having temporarily assumed the role of senior physician at a psychiatric hospital filling in for a vacationing colleague. She is having a casual, meaningless affair with a man named Martin, while she believes that Tomas Jacobi, who she meets at a party, also is making sexual advances toward her. Regardless of if her assumption about Tomas is correct, the two become friends and frequent companions. In watching her grandmother lovingly take care of her ailing grandfather, remembering back to her childhood with her grandparents, spending time with Tomas, and processing an event associated with one of her more severe cases, that of a young woman named Maria, Jenny, in a fragile mental state,...Written by
The TV version is a four-part mini-series: 1. Uppbrottet (The Separation); 2. Gränsen (The Border); 3. Skymningslandet (The Twilight Land); 4. Återkomsten (The Return). A total of 176 minutes compared to the film's 130 minutes (25 fps). See more »
"Face to Face" exists mostly as a showcase for one of Ingmar Bergman's favorite actresses, Liv Ullmann, and she gives a tour de force performance. She plays Jenny Isaakson, a psychiatrist who can't help herself when her mental illness sends her teetering over the brink into a complete emotional breakdown. The film is unrelenting, comprised of one merciless scene after another in which the camera rests in extreme closeup on Ullmann's face and captures the anguish writ large there. It's a tough watch, but it's also morbidly fascinating. I've always been interested in studies about mental illness, and "Face to Face" is one of the most realistic I've seen in showing how such an illness manifests itself.
Ullmann was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the year that Faye Dunaway won for "Network." The Academy had a tough decision on its hands that year. And Bergman also received a nomination for Best Director.
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