The Virgin Spring (1960)

The Virgin Spring Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The Virgin Spring Movie Review

The Virgin Spring is a 1960 Swedish drama film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Max von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg. It is a solid, but mostly disappointing and deeply flawed movie.

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You see it, God, you see it. The innocent child’s death and my revenge. You allowed it.

I don’t understand you. Yet now I beg your forgiveness.

I know no other way to be reconciled with my own hands.

I know no other way to live

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The Virgin Spring Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is set in medieval Sweden and is a revenge tale about a father’s merciless response to the rape and murder of his young daughter. The plot itself has potential, but isn’t executed properly. I liked the setting and the time period quite a bit actually, but the characters here aren’t as complex and well realized as they should have been given the caliber of the movie.

But the biggest problem for me was the film’s apparent lack of any focus which was so frustrating to witness from Bergman. Not only does the rape sequence happen way too late, but that second half of the movie should in my opinion have been the entire film. Also, the focus on one daughter and then on second daughter and then finally on the father is odd and it doesn’t lead to much development for any of them. The father should have been much more prominent in the final picture.

But he is pretty good nonetheless and his conflict is the most interesting thematically speaking. Ingeri is a very interesting, but underutilized character who reminded me so much of Anne’s character in Dreyer’s ‘Day of Wrath‘ as basically the religious conflict and ambiguity at the center of her story is very much the same in that movie, but much better done there than here.

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The Virgin Spring Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The acting is pretty good in The Virgin Spring with Max von Sydow being the best actor here, giving the finest performance. The directing from Ingmar Bergman is solid, but this is far from his best works unfortunately. It is also one of the weaker foreign Oscar winners until this point in film history as far as I’m concerned as it is so deeply flawed in most of its areas.

The technical aspects aren’t some of those areas as they are great. The cinematography is excellent, the pacing is good and the violence is well handled and delicately. The dialogue is mostly good, but never as great as the script demanded it. Speaking of the script, it is powerful and provocative for the time, but the lack of focus in the execution hurt it in the long run.

The Virgin Spring is thematically rich with various religious overtones and themes in it, but unfortunately only some of them are well explored and most are left underutilized. I loved the use of Norse mythology as well as Paganism, but the conflict with the father and the theme of justice should have been much more emphasized and it really annoyed me that it wasn’t.

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The Virgin Spring Movie Review…………………………………………………….

That beginning is so prolonged and boring and the entire first half is too slow and uneventful. The movie is structurally so uneven and odd and ultimately unsatisfying that it was the biggest thing that prevented me from enjoying this film more. The second half is pretty good and dramatic, but the former half is dull and disappointing and the characterization is never great for this piece that needed it. Overall, it is disappointing and ultimately too uneven to be as great as critics make it out to be.

The Virgin Spring is thematically rich, well filmed and mostly intriguing and also well acted, but it is so uneven structurally speaking as the second half should have been the majority of the movie as far as I’m concerned and the themes, especially that of justice and the nature of evil, should have been more much prominent in the story. In the end, it is solid, but never as great as it could have been.

My Rating – 3.5

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Posted in 1960, 1960s, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, MOVIE REVIEWS, Swedish and tagged , , , , , .

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