Sight and Sound - 12/01/1978
"...There is much to be grateful for in AUTUMN SONATA....Ingrid Bergman gives a superb display of a woman transforming herself into a concert pianist..."
Variety - 09/13/1978
"...A fascinating study, AUTUMN SONATA requires the full attention of the viewer..."
In this drama written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, Eva, the meek, seemingly complacent wife of a parson, invites her mother, Charlotte, a world famous pianist, to come for a visit, hoping for a reconciliation after a long period of estrangement and virtually no interaction. Instead, long-repressed feelings of rage toward her mother for repeatedly abandoning her as a child begin to surface and finally culminate in a cathartic confrontation between the two women. Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman (in her final movie role) give excellent and emotionally charged performances as Eva and Charlotte.
In AUTUMN SONATA, Ingrid Bergman plays Charlotte, a famous concert pianist who hasn't seen her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann) in seven years when she decides to accept Eva and her husband's invitation to come for a prolonged visit. Also staying with the couple is Eva's younger sister, Helena, who suffers from a degenerative disease, and with whom Charlotte is visibly uncomfortable. Although Eva resents her estranged mother's having never taken much interest in either of her daughters' lives, she longs for a reconciliation and tries her best to please Charlotte at first. But after an evening of drink and reminiscences, emotions run amok, and Charlotte finds herself accused of the most severe parental shortcomings, which include being responsible for one daughter's chronic depression and the other's disability. Often considered one of the lesser works of Bergman's later period, AUTUMN SONATA is actually a compassionate and often insightful exploration of a strained relationship between parent and child--a relationship, however, that may not be quite past salvation yet. Ingrid Bergman's only collaboration with compatriot (and namesake) Ingmar Bergman also turned out to be her final movie role.
On the soundtrack, excerpts from Chopin's Prelude No. 2 in A minor are performed by Käbi Laretei; Bach's Suite No. 4 in E flat major is performed by Claude Genetay; and Händel's Sonata in F major, Opus 1, is performed by F. Bruggen, G. Leonhardt, and Anne Bylsmå.
Linn Ullmann, who plays Eva as a child, is the real-life daughter of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman.