Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
With the exception of his elderly housekeeper Miss Agda who he treats almost like a surrogate platonic wife, widowed seventy-eight year old Dr. Isak Borg, a former medical doctor and professor, has retreated from any human contact, partly his own want but partly the decision of others who do not want to spend time with him because of his cold demeanor. He is traveling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree. Instead of flying as was the original plan, he decides to take the day long drive instead. Along for the ride is his daughter-in-law Marianne, who had been staying with him for the month but has now decided to go home. The many stops and encounters along the way make him reminisce about various parts of his life. Those stops which make him reminisce directly are at his childhood summer home, at the home of his equally emotionally cold mother, and at a gas station where the attendants praise him as a man for his work. But the lives of other people they ...Written by
"Wild Strawberries" profoundly moved me. The theme -- an old man coming up fast on death and wondering if his life has had any meaning -- is an old one for Bergman, and one which he explored ad nauseum throughout the subsequent decades. But here Bergman approaches the question with an uncharacteristic optimism and sense of hope. For once, he seems to come close to finding some peace with the unknowns of life that obviously preoccupied him as an artist, and the movie he gives us is sad but immensely warm; resigned but calm and reflective.
An unequivocal masterpiece, and only one of a handful of Bergman films ("Persona" and "Cries and Whispers" being two others) that don't drive me over the edge when I watch them now.
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