by Bergman, Ingmar

  • Best Intentions, The

Genre: Comedy

Cast 9 male 7 female

Length Full

Set Flexible

Licence World ex. Sweden


The story covers the ten-year period from 1909-19 and concerns the Lutheran minister Henrik Bergman and his wife Anna Akerblom.  We see Henrik as a theology student, asked to visit his ailing grandmother with whom he has fallen out. In return his studies will be paid for.  He sees this offer as emotional blackmail and storms out.  This hot-headed behaviour sets a pattern for his character throughout the whole film.

After failing an exam, Henrik is consoled by his girl friend.  Henrik is the invited to the Akerblom family home by the son of the family and encounters Anna for the first time.

Henrik returns home at the end of the academic year. His mother has decided to seek financial support from three unmarried sisters of Henrik’s grandfather. The request is granted after Henrik tells a white lie about his studies.

Anna’s aging father dies and soon after she and Henrik become engaged. They visit rural Forsboda, which will become their first home. This trip marks their first major argument when Anna holds out for a huge wedding in the Cathedral at Uppsala while Henrik wants a small affair in the chapel at Forsboda.  Anna wins this battle of wills but their honeymoon in Italy is cancelled and they travel immediately to Forsboda. Tension increases between Henrik and his mother-in-law. Karin, when Anna gives birth to their first son in Uppsala rather than Forsboda.

A foster child comes to live with the Bergman’s and Henrik falls out with the local mill owner Nordenson after which Nordenson removes his two daughters from Henrik’s confirmation class.

Henrik is invited to become priest at the prestigious Sophia Hospital in Stockholm.  He hesitates and is given time to consider his decision.

Henrik’s sick mother comes to visit her son in Forsboda and dies. Anna is expecting their second child. People in the local community have stopped attending Henrik’s and Anna’s reading and sewing classes fearing they will be blacklisted by Nordenson on whom they rely for work at his mill. There is also gossip about the Pastor and Mrs. Nordenson.  The mill is declared bankrupt and Nordenson commits suicide.

Cold, food-rationing, illness and marital tension move Anna to return to her mother and Henrik lashes out at her twice. Anna remains in Uppsala over Christmas while Henrik dismisses the maids and lives alone. Finally he travels to Uppsala and informs Anna he has accepted the post in Stockholm. In July their second son, Ingmar, will be born.

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