Wild Strawberries, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman is an interesting film in the mere fact that it is difficult to predict the conclusion before film's end. Bergman's use of light and dark scenes to create a sense of the character and atmosphere is wonderfully achieved in this outstanding film of the late 1950s.
The opening scene of the movie provides the viewer an excellent synopsis of Dr. Isak Borg's life and family. The scene acquaints the viewer with his son, mother, house keeper, deceased wife and the doctor himself.
The first dream by Dr. Borg is dark and puzzling due mainly to its unclear meaning and uncanny nature. The street is deserted and clear. Dr. Borg approaches a clock and looks, but it is without hands. He looks at his pocket watch and it is also without hands. The black and white scene is subdued and calm, but draws the viewer in all the while guessing what's next. The scene is without music and progresses with the sound of a heart beat that quickens with each step taken as he walks along the desolate boulevard. When Dr. Borg approaches a man, the man turns and lacks a face. Shortly after, a cart-drawn casket passes and knocks its wheel off after colliding with a lamp post. The casket falls, opens, and a hand hangs exposed. Dr. Borg approaches the casket preparing to look inside when the hand reaches and clutches his hand. Surprised and frightened, he struggles to free the grip and soon recognizes that the face of the man in the casket is his own.
The movie was filled with Dr. Borg's puzzling dreams and remembrances of his early life, but much of the charm and warmth that is contained throughout the movie is owed to the secondary characters. Dr. Borg's daughter-in-law, Marianne is a delight to watch because she can smile like an angle and can be bluntly frank, all at the same time. Her stunning classic looks and assured mannerism helps the movie in a great way. Agda has lived with the doctor as his housekeeper for forty years. She and Dr. Borg hysterically argues as if man and wife. She knows the doctor well and understands him like the other people in his life do not. Sara, the young girl who wakes the doctor as he lay near the wild strawberries is a joy to watch. She shows the doctor new ways to look at the world by not taking anything too seriously. She takes in all that life has to offer and brings out the joy. Her slight touch to the doctor's face while they drove is one of the warmest scenes in the film and defines her loving character. There are many warm moments in the film, and many moments of darkness. The beginning of the film was dark, puzzling, and melancholy, and the end of the film was warm, bright and full of life and tenderness. The movie brought to mind, Charles Dickens' Scrooge, from A Christmas Carol. Although Professor Borg was not nearly as cold and unpleasant as Mr. Scrooge, he did however isolate and distance himself from his wife, friends, and family. His cruelty was hidden by his charm, but affected people quite similar to Mr. Scrooge's nasty mannerisms. On several occasions, in dreams and reality, Dr. Borg had to endure scrutiny from family members about his coldness. While driving to Lund, Marianne charmingly reminded him of his lack of warmth, love, and understanding and how she only knows him as a father-in-law. Marianne also lets on to Dr. Borg that his own son hates him; words that rang in the doctor's head. The doctor's dreams pointed out to him how he isolated the important parts of life and the people who cared for him. During one of Dr. Borg's dreams, he was taken by a teacher to see his dead wife. She was in a grassy field where she was making love to another man. Afterwards, she sat there talking to the man about her husband not caring, not giving her the attention she needed and how he would dismiss the entire event as his fault, but she says he does not mean any of it, because "he is cold as ice." Dr. Borg also became puzzled by a pocket watch that once belonged to his father. His mother showed him the watch and had wanted to give it to her grandson. The watch was missing the hands, just as the one in his dream. Throughout the movie, Dr. Borg let more and more of his old ways die and by the end of the day he was beginning to live and be happy. The crabby old coot that emerged at the beginning of the movie, softened and begin to see how happy he could be if he allowed himself. The Drive with the good people that Dr. Borg was fortunate to have accompany him, allowed him to experience the love and joy of others.