Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 100
    Powerfully, painfully honest.
  2. If it's not an actual masterpiece, it's at least the next best thing, a fully characteristic, fully alive work by a master of his art.
  3. Its leisurely, deliberative style is a perfect complement to the emotions it deals with - emotions so penetrating that I warn you at the outset how jarringly intense you may find Bergman's most brilliant drama in decades.
  4. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    One could literally milk a thesaurus in trying to find the right words to lavish on Saraband: brilliant, towering, majestic, challenging, remarkable.
  5. 100
    Bergman has never been an ordinary filmmaker, and what he's given us is no genial last hurrah but rather an intensely dramatic, at times lacerating examination of life's conundrums that is exhilarating in its fearlessness and its command.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Saraband makes for a powerful and poignant final roar from the grand old man of cinema--the movies' lion king.
  7. Bergman's Saraband is sublime.
  8. Reviewed by: Tim Page
    It would be difficult to identify a single frame in Saraband that is not a distinguished composition in itself; Bergman has the eye of a latter-day Vermeer.
  9. 88
    Saraband portrays a sad vision of aging, yet the film is never depressing. For those inclined to search for psychological twists, the film offers plenty of Freudian situations capable of provoking lengthy discussions.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Builds slowly and naturally to an unbearable personal crisis.
  11. Ms. Ullmann, now 65, and Mr. Josephson, 81, have a supreme mastery of the Bergman style. Their performances are spiritual and emotional X-rays.
  12. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    With Saraband, the great writer-director has stepped back into the ring for one last epic wrestle with his demons. There is, as always, no easy outcome. But no one ever fought for higher emotional and spiritual stakes.
  13. 78
    A pure distillation of the great director's ongoing themes of the frailty of the human psyche and mankind's willful inability to accept the inevitable, whatever that may be.
  14. This is as bitter and despairing an exploration of the human spirit as any of Bergman's films, and it is just as vibrantly written and directed.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Saraband -- the term means an erotic dance for two -- is like watching four people take turns trying to swim with one of the others clinging to an ankle. It's grim and gripping.
  16. Bergman has not gone soft, not emotionally, philosophically and certainly not artistically. This is as tough a film as he has ever made.
  17. 75
    Bergman's creation of family banter that turns irredeemably cruel remains without peer.
  18. Anyone expecting a tender sunset elegy, however, has wandered into the wrong film. Saraband, despite a few wistful moments, is a poison pill of a reunion.
  19. If ultimately the highly talky Saraband comes across as a minor entry in the canon, it nonetheless marks a dignified farewell for one of cinema's greatest directors.
  20. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A rare, unexpected treat.
  21. Saraband doesn't ask to be considered prime-cut Bergman, and it isn't, although its slightness may not matter to the art-film starving class.
  22. Reviewed by: Gunnar Rehlin
    A bitter but finally moving story about lost love, hatred between generations and a curious kind of liberation, Saraband officially closes one of the most prestigious and influential careers in the history of cinema.
  23. The screenplay of Saraband feels concocted, not absorbed from life in sense and soul like so much of Bergman's work.
  24. Saraband, flat and static both visually and thematically, doesn't begin to approximate the austere beauty of the director's art-house classics.
  25. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Insightful as ever but a little dated in the set-up and treatment of the shooting.
  26. This uneven new film, a series of dialogues from the legendary Ingmar Bergman, is assembled like movements of a concerto.
  27. Feels like the effort of a tired artist reworking the same themes.
  28. The performances are perfectly distilled, but the traits I dislike in Bergman are all here -- self-pity, brutality, spiritual constipation, and an unwillingness to try to overcome these difficulties.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Oct 8, 2014
    An outstanding final work Bergman made for TV, but it's much too good for it not to have been released theatrically. Basically Scenes from a Marriage: 30 Years Later. Nearing retirement and hearing her ex-husband has done well for himself in advanced age, curious Marianne decides on a whim to see how he's doing, decades later, and stumbles upon Johan's horrible son, who it appears is having an incestuous relationship with his daughter, who's significantly talented with the cello and wants to leave to have some semblance of a normal life but is very afraid to do so. A stunning work, a worthy finale to a remarkable career in the arts for the fine Swedish director, who through but ten dialogues can make a far better film than 90% of the other directors out there today. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2010
    Ingmar Bergman was never one to shy away from the brutal honesties of life, and with "Saraband" (his last feature), all of that pain is projected onto 4 characters who so desperately need fulfillment from each other and themselves. What he leaves us with is this - the longer you wait for resolution in your life, the harder it is to get it. Full Review »
  3. RobertS.
    Jan 13, 2006
    How amazing that Bergman, in his late 80s, still has the touch. Saraband may not be up to the level of his greatest films, such as Fanny and Alexander, but it is certainly on the same level as Scenes From a Marriage. Full Review »