[More like 3.5] Interesting deep analysis of marriage, its conflicts and 'stages', through amazing acting (mostly by Ullmann). Born as a 6h-long TV series, the movie has a better pace in its theatrical cut, yet still is a bit slow: divided in chapters, makes good use of ellipses – but not good enough to fully justify characters stuck in their role. To be clear: the message is well told, just a bit boring.
A perfect blend of the television and cinematographic formats: the sobriety of the visuals enhances the sheer strength of the screenplay, while the ambitious duration lends the story the breath it needs. Brilliant use of the ellipses. Deeply autobiographical in all its little details, sweet and painful. I just didn't like how they left the children out of the question, though. And well, he was quite a dick at times.
"Sometimes I hate you for what you did to me. I rejoice every hour that passes without a thought of you. I have friends, lovers, children, and a job I enjoy that I'm good at. Yet, I'm tied to you. I don't know why. Perhaps I'm a masochist, or else I'm just a one-man-woman."
This deconstruction of a marriage feels clinical. What is indeed an extremely personal & emotional connection between two is here disconnected from the spectator particularly when narrative & context have been omitted. Emotional swings & changes of heart take place without clues, their secrets zealously guarded down in the couple's souls. It is easy to feel emotionally detached, like feeling in the wrong place.
I don't know if this film makes me want to never ever get married, or if it actually makes me want to marry just so I get to have awesome fights, filled with witty verbal abuse and the sharp passive-aggressive punches that can only occur after years of love/hate cohabitation.