Heartland: Bergman Island
Anyone who has ever wished to be loved and desired by someone who couldn’t understand them will recognize themselves in this elegant portrait of a couple trying to reconnect.
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There’s an elegant simplicity to “Bergman Island,” Mia Hansen-Løve’s story about an American film writing couple who visit Fårö Island, where director and writer Ernst Bergman lived and filmed his movies.
Hoping the sandy beaches and tranquil countryside will spark inspiration, the couple settle into a pastoral landscape among the townspeople and historical attractions. The invisible things between them expose the struggles in their relationship.
Tony (Tim Roth) routinely takes to his daily writing without passion or contempt. A reserved person, he’s comfortable with others making plans and leading conversations. His partner, Chris (Vicky Krieps), is finding it difficult to write and prefers biking around the island and exploring its inhabitants, including the jellyfish. Although she tries to explain her loneliness to Tony, he’s unable to fulfill her needs.
“Something is holding me back. Something is making me anxious,” she confesses to him.
Those who’ve ever wished to be loved and desired by someone who couldn’t understand them will recognize themselves in this film.
Roth (“Pulp Fiction”, “Rob Roy”, “Selma”) delivers a solid performance as a man desperate to love a woman who can’t resolve her loneliness. Krieps (“Phantom Thread”) satisfyingly embodies the innocence and wonderment of someone who escapes the dullness of daily life to engage with the island’s nature and passions.
While the set-up runs a little long, the second act connects the storyline to the heart of its tale. A story within a story, Chris’ screenplay, “The White Dress,” comes to life, allowing her to invite an imaginary affair alongside their retreat. Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass”) captivates the audience as Amy, the protagonist of “Dress”, who reunites with an old love at a wedding on Fårö Island. Like Chris, she is unfulfilled and empty, wanting nothing more than to be desired by Joseph (Anders Danielsen Lie).
Love is not for the timid or weak, it begs to be experienced by wild and restless hearts. Hearts that have been patched together to fight another day. Hearts that hold nothing back, ready to love again no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice.
Country roads and ocean waves lure us into this beautiful and tragic love story. “Bergman Island” permits us to daydream about past lovers and forgives us for stopping to flirt with strangers along the way.