Autumn Sonata (1978): Ingrid Bergman Dominates Ingmar Begrman Mother-Daughter Melodrama with Oscar-Winning Performance

Ingmar Bergman’s intense family melodrama concerns a successful concert pianist (Ingrid Bergman) who goes to visit her daughter (played by Liv Ullmann), whom she has not seen for many years.┬áThe mother is guilt-ridden and the daughter still resents all those years of being neglected, not to mention her having to take care of her chronically ill sister.
Grade: B+ (**** out of *****)
Autumn Sonata

Swedish theatrical poster
Like many other of his psychological films, Autumn Sonata is an emotionally intense melodrama, confined to the indoors.
The text is imbued by Freudian psychology, in this case daughter versus mother. But the mother’s guilt and raw anger are not fully transformed by thought or by art.
The ending was too mawkishly sentimental, manifest in the reconciliation between the two women.
It was impossible not to read the movie in autobiographical terms: As is well know, in 1949, Ingrid left her husband and daughter (Pia Lindstrom) to work for Italian director Roberto Rossellini, whom she later married and had children with.
This was the first film that Bergman the director and Bergman the actress made together and it sadly marks Ingrid’s very last big-screen performance, for which she received the N.Y. Film Critics Circle Award and an Oscar nomination; she later appeared in the Made-for TV “Golda,” as Israel’s famous prime minister, for which she won an Emmy Award.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Actress: Ingrid Bergman
Screenplay (Original): Ingmar Bergman
Oscar Awards: None
The winner of the Best Actress was Jane Fonda for the anti-Vietnam War melodrama, “Coming Home,” which also won the Oscar for Story and Screenplay by Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt, and Robert C. Jones.
New World Pictures (Sweden)