This film strikes me as being quintessential Bergman in its themes and unvarnished presentation of the human condition. I have to say, though, that for all its depth, I find the picture too skewed in favour of misery and negative emotions. Do the sisters played by Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin have to have quite such a depth of resentment towards each other? And would the moribund state of the third sister really bring all this to the surface as it does, even as she lies dying? The final scene, by contrast, is absurdly idyllic, as if the aesthetic of the director demands these extremes, like a Romantic landscape of impossibly high mountains and unfathomable lakes that a 19th century German painter might depict. My biggest reservation is with the indescribable suffering of the dying woman that is presented so graphically. I always hate being forced to see extremes of suffering on screen, as we cannot stop it, and it is serving the interest of an artistic vision and is hence being calculated in a wider aesthetic. These sequences are awful to sit through. I won't deny that the view of the world is deeply etched into the metal plate that gives us the final picture, and I admire his unflinching gaze, but I do question whether this is the 'ultimate' truth of our relation to others as many claim it to be. Bergman's vision is fascinating but in film after film the negative dominates and then he twists the knife ... he is comparable to Michael Haneke, in a sense, who is relentlessly negative also. But whereas Haneke is ice-cold, Bergman presents us with startling, very warm reds in this film; visually there's no denying that it has tremendous impact.