There is a clear theatricality to the technique and the dialogue (which feels written rather than naturalistic). But the acting is irrepressibly powerful and Bergman's keen emotional intelligence explodes through the artifice. An emotional thunderstorm of a film, quiet tension erupting into a violent clash of human feeling. Powerful cinema.
It's a good movie. Personally, I would've liked to see a smoother unraveling of conflict... Feels like they got on each-other's throats pretty fast. Bergman's mother immediately comes off as a b*tch, it's like she doesn't even make an effort, while Ullmann's daughter goes from a passive-aggressive looney to this tragic and vicious account of her childhood almost in a blink of an eye. But 2 great actresses, no doubt.
"The daughter shall inherit the mother’s injuries. The daughter shall suffer for the mother’s failures. The unhappiness of the mother shall be the daughter’s unhappiness. It’s as if the umbilical cord had never been cut. Is that how it is? Is the daughter’s unhappiness the mother’s triumph? Is my grief your secret pleasure?"
"Eva: The mother's injuries are to be handed down to the daughter. The mother's failures are to be paid for by the daughter. The mother's unhappiness is to be the daughter's unhappiness. It's as if the umbilical cord had never been cut..." How brillantly, how magnificently does Bergman express the complexities of aching love and maddening hatred between mother and daughter. Theatrical and wretched in its honesty.
Igieniche confessioni notturne per dispiegare le sfumature d'amore/odio/dolore di un'infinita scala cromatica. Le parole delle due splendide attrici protagoniste, furie volteggianti in una cornice teatrale, rivelano quanto a fondo Bergman si sia spinto nella sua volontà di capire.