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The Best Intentions (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000128782
Added by: Curtis Owen
Added on: 27/4/2010 12:33
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    Review for The Best Intentions

    Mr. Henrik Bergman (Samuel Fröler) is joining the clergy. Miss. Anna Åkerblom (Pernilla August) wants to be a nurse. They meet at a dinner party. The patriarch, Karin Åkerblom (Ghita Nørby) is unhappy with his punctuality. Henrik is poor and held in low regard. The Åkerblom family are well off and snobbish. Anna spots something special in Henrik's downtrodden eyes. He lives a simple life. Depression and self-doubt plague him. Henrik and Anna go for a walk. They fall in love. Karin Åkerblom objects to this unhealthy liaison. She thinks something awful will happen to her daughter if it continues. All Johan Åkerblom (Max Von Sydow) wants is for his daughter to be happy.

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    Confusion haunts Henrik. He admits to having conflicting emotions and a guilty conscience. Anna admits to being stubborn, impatient, selfish, pleasure loving, bad-tempered and vain. After their engagement, they move to an isolated parish. This is where their troubles begin. They start to argue. Henrik is fierce at Anna for being selfish and spoilt. Stifled by a lifestyle she holds in low-regard, Anna lives a life of quiet desperation. A life in which she sacrifices her dreams of becoming a nurse to make her husband happy. After their first child is born, they have the ability to change their dreary existence by accepting a reputable position at a hospital in Stockholm.

    They fight about moving. Henrik wants to stay at the parish to fulfil his obligation. Anna thinks that Henrik is trampling on her dreams. She becomes resentful. They cannot go on like this. Henrik hits Anna. She goes to live with her mother. Henrik is isolated, lost and alone. Anna begins to pick up the pieces of her broken life. They are due to have their second child. Things do not work out the way they intended, even if they do have the best intensions. Henrik visits Anna. Does this signal the demise of their relationship or will they be able to forgive each other?

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    Verdict: The Best Intensions is a complex love story about confronting class conflict, cultural coldness and self-destructive and imprudent emotions. Director Billie August (Pelle the Conqueror) won the Palme D'Or award at the Cannes film festival in 1992 for the film and his then wife Pernilla August (who plays Anakin Skywalker's mum in The Phantom Menace) won the best actress award. Retired filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal) wrote the screenplay. It is an authentic account of his parent's turbulent relationship between 1909 and 1918 (the year Ingmar was born). His father (Henrik) was a poverty-stricken man who became hardened by the turmoil of life while his mother (Anna) was a well-heeled woman who led a pampered and affluent lifestyle. Samuel Fröler's performance is subdued and broods with indifference. His eyes contemplate quiet desperation. Pernilla August brings verisimilitude to her performance with a rough yet considerate gaze. With her affectionate smile and kettle-like passion, she creates a remarkable duality that goes hand-in-hand with the cinematography (the weather reflects the characters internal emotions). As Anna observes, 'I've never known such peculiar weather'. We experience the thunder, the cold, the sun and the wind. Symbolism that is bitter yet sweet. The restrained piano music also helps to cement this solemn yet peaceful tone as the characters ominous sense of melancholy heightens. Their chaotic relationship is characterised by pain, hurt and anger yet there is an underlining sense of beauty, love and affection.

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