A film of marvellous moments, which linger rather longer in the memory than the structure holding them together. The framing device almost looks like a pretext: three women friends recall significant moments in their marriages as they await the arrival of their menfolk on an island summer home, while the elopement plans of a younger generation adds counterpoint. Björk's episode, which simmers into confrontation between a frigid spouse and dullard husband, is the least of them, but the final story, which finds sniping Dahlbeck and pompous Björnstrand realising a few serio-comic home truths when they get stuck in a lift overnight, may well be the most amusing 20 minutes in the whole Bergman canon. Possibly even more striking, however, is the film's emotional centrepiece, where Nilsson reveals how she reassessed her feelings for artist husband Malmsten as she lay in theatre about to deliver their first child. This largely wordless passage, gracefully eliding time through the fog of anaesthesia (and taking in a Parisian idyll which casts its shadow as far as the screenplay for Faithless), shows a masterful control of mood and an actress at her intuitive best. The bounty of Bergman's many superb female performances notwithstanding, it's a shame he never worked with Nilsson again.
Cast and crew