A troubled painter and his wife stay at a small northern island in an effort to escape the distractions of everyday life.
At first all is pleasant, but soon they find themselves tortured by isolation and the painter's inner-demons. Many horror films are psychological, but only in Bergman's hands does the human-psyche itself become the antagonist. Creepy and thought-provoking in equal measure.
Shows in a small town there are no secrets as you will find out.
Also you don't cheat on your wife in a restraunt where you can be seen in the front window from the street.
Don't make your wife mad and then let her cook for you..
Riveting, though not for everyone
Reviewed by Juliska for Persona at 2011-04-02 20:26:45
This is a classic "art house" film. It's Swedish w. English subtitles. But the *non-verbal* communication in this film is what's stunning. *Lots* of pregnant pauses, action scenes w. no dialogue, silence accompanied by only natural sounds like that of the nearby ocean. Minimalist, surreal, Zen texture. No sex, really, but certainly a sexual subtext for those who want to perceive one vis-a-vis growing attraction of one woman to another. But all very subtle.
There is a sweeping range of emotions in this film. Almost every character finds their way from the heights of joy to the depths of brokenness and despair. It is remarkable that so much richness and frivolity can find their place in one film, often from one scene to the next.
Bergman reveals deep spiritual realities in this film, and none of them are easy or straightforward. In the vast landscape of this film, despondency hides tremendous joy while forthrightness brings forth great pain and fear. But not merely so. The adult characters are reaching out for more than they can hold in their arms at once.
I love the shots that scroll and pan amongst dozens of family members. There are compositions that contain many characters at once and seem to encompass the whole world - everything we can see within the frame and everything we cannot see.
Of course, I didn't include any screenshots of those scenes here :) and I've already put the disc back in the mail or I would find some - I opted instead for these quieter moments that I found stunning at the time I was viewing.
It turns out I did have a couple of other screenshots saved. Here is the family on Christmas morning listening to the story of Christ's birth. And another image of the children praying for their family members before bed time. These compositions remind me of the kind Stanley Kubrick used in almost every shot of Barry Lyndon. Natural light and highly stylized images. I wish I knew more about what these shots are doing - I'm at the limit of my understanding... They look like, uh, classical paintings.
DiCaprio is compelling in this movie, but I believe that this is Depps best. He's no Jack Sparrow in this one, just a gentle-spirited brother and son who deeply cares about his family's welfare. I became a fan of Juliette Lewis from her part in this movie. If you like romance, you'll love the connection between these two. Fantastic movie all around!
It really doesn't matter what Leonardo DiCaprio does after this movie. He will always have my respect as an actor because of his protrayal of the mentally challenged brother in this movie. I saw it when it first came out and before he was a known actor. He is brilliant here. No matter what you think of "Titanic" and his role in it, this movie shows his full potential. The mother is not an actor and is a bit stiff. Johnny Depp plays a compelling but low profile main character. DiCaprio steals the show.
This would have been such an interesting, lovely little movie about a compellingly idiosyncratic family if only the blah love interest had been trimmed. Juliette Lewis's character is the major sour note in this otherwise quirky little movie. But the interactions of Gilbert with his offbeat family and friends are wonderful.
I would have to agree with the three bone rating for this one. When I first saw this movie I had never heard of DiCaprio and seeing him on the screen it warmed my heart to know they gave a significant roll to a "challenged" actor. Come to find out he is not challenged at all which made it better and worse for me. Good performance on his part but why not give the roll to Corky from "Life Goes On"?