Saturday Movie Review – “The Virgin Spring”

This week’s Saturday review is of one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Read the review if you’d like, or save time and just go watch it.

Cast and Crew

Max von Sydow as Tore
Birgitta Valberg as Mareta
Gunnel Lindblom as Ingeri
Birgitta Pettersson as Karin
Axel Duberg as Thin Herdsman
Tor Isedal as Mute Herdsman
Allan Edwall as Beggar
Ove Porath as Boy
Axel Slangus as Bridge Keeper
Gudrun Brost as Frida
Oscar Ljung as Simon

Written by Ulla Isaksson.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Complete information is
available from this IMDB



Past movie reviews can be found here.


A young, spoiled Christian and one of her pagan servants do not get along. When the servant makes an offering to Odin in ensure harm comes to the Christian, the latter is raped and murdered. The victim’s family are then faced with moral dilemma’s when they realize the boarders they’ve taken in are related to their daughter’s disappearance.

High Point

The choice of camera angles, from the faces behind fire to the perspective during battle to the final call for help.

Low Point

That’s a remarkably calm toad.

The Review

The originality score may be skewed by the fact that this is my first exposure to Bergman’s work. Chronologically, The Seventh Seal is likely an earlier precedent to much of what impressed me here. Still, I’ve never seen anything like this. I can’t think of another film that casts such a negative and doubtful light on Christian beliefs. Content aside, it’s even unique in the way it was filmed and constructed. I give it 6 out of 6.

The one and only visual effect was the spring itself, but that was well done. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was carefully constructed, with much to process and interpret. (For example, is God truly absent, or does He simply desire greater offerings than Odin?) I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting is the weakest part. It is often stiff, particularly from the younger actors. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is compelling to say the least. This is a film that demands repeated viewings. There seems to be a trend among art films to appeal directly to the intellect, while the mainstream films prefer to appeal to emotions. This is the rare film that hits both targets. There’s a lot of emotion packed in here for a passive audience, while those that analyze it further will tap in to even more emotions. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is immersive and innovative. As I said earlier, the camera angles alone are amazing, but there are no aspects of production that falter, either. Bergman has a reputation for being one of the world’s greatest directors, and now I understand why. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is simply an excellent film. Just try to watch it and not be haunted by it. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, The Virgin Spring receives 40 out of 42.