The Palme may have gone to August, but I can't help but think it was a belated way to honor Ingmar Bergman, whose brilliant, personal screenplay makes this a lost Bergman film. The cast is terrific, and even if all August did was stay true to the master, he did a fine job. The chief drawback is that it feels like (and was) a miniseries cut to a feature, with the whole less than the sum of its highly eloquent parts.
The only thing holding this film back is that it's not directed by the big man himself. Billie August has proven himself a capable journeyman of art house films but lacks any intensity or the piercing eye that Bergman brings to Fanny & Alexander. However, a workmanlike take on Bergmans script still makes for some truly exellent acting and an experience to behold.