A Lesson in Love
(En lektion i kärlek)
Eva Dahlbeck, Gunnar Björnstrand, Yvonne Lombard, Harriet Andersson,
Bergman’s version of a Cary Grant comedy of remarriage can’t approach screwball but is rather oddball, and not just in its elliptical flashback format. The amorous adventures of a gynecologist make a queasy premise for laughs so it is fitting that (as usual) the women carry the day. Eva Dahlbeck, as the doctor’s wife who embarks on a revenge affair of her own, stoops to conquer low comedy and raises it to her own level. And Harriet Andersson makes the role of an ever-questioning tomboy daughter a challenging Greek chorus. She’s just the one to trim the feathers of the patriarchal peacock knowingly played by Bergman alter ego (capital E) Gunnar Björnstrand. Lessons in lyricism play off acerbic commentary on marriage for a film “notable among Bergman’s work for its freedom and spontaneity of invention, its emotional richness, warmth and generosity” (Robin Wood).