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A Song for Martin
A Song for Martin
Actors: Sven Wollter, Viveka Seldahl, Reine Brynolfsson, Linda Källgren, Lisa Werlinder
Director: Bille August
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
PG-13     2003     1hr 57min

In midlife, two soul mates finally meet and their passion is fueled by their love of music. Martin is a famous composer-conductor and Barbara a gifted violinist. Abandoning their lackluster lives, together they plunge into...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sven Wollter, Viveka Seldahl, Reine Brynolfsson, Linda Källgren, Lisa Werlinder
Director: Bille August
Creators: Jörgen Persson, Bille August, Lars Kolvig, Michael Lundberg, Michael Obel, Ulla Isaksson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Classical
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/12/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 57min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Swedish
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Christine A. (WriteReviseEdit) from ROCHESTER, NY
Reviewed on 2/12/2014...
I'm stunned anyone would give this movie a "2-star rating" (see earlier review).

True: This is not your typical movie, but that's part of what makes it so unique and entertaining. I especially love that the story allows two adults in the vicinity of the Baby Boom generation to behave so romantically and initiate a surprisingly steamy relationship on screen. How much should I reveal? Dare I say it was unexpectedly sexy, then heartwarming and then heartbreaking. 'Nuff said.

More than that, it was refreshing given all of the tween, teen and young adult celebs we're confronted with on a daily basis and who mark the Hollywood landscape. This is a Swedish film which shows off and plays up a relatively modern Swedish lifestyle, interpersonal dynamics, landscapes/environment, etc. If you don't like subtitles, skip this film. If you welcome them (like I do), you should enjoy it.

I like the film so much I'll hold onto it a bit longer before swapping it.

Movie Reviews

Incredible love story, realistic
O. Brown | Twopeas, WA | 12/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

Unlike other reviewers, I did not see this film as depressing. That said, it is not easy to watch. It is realistic, about a powerful accomplished man who gradually disappears into his own world with Alzheimer's disease, and how this affects the love of his life who becomes his caretaker. It is poignant, and unusual, as it is rare to see love stories between older people that are portrayed realistically with the couple as having the same desires, passions, and needs as the young.

The story is not told along a physical time line (so you don't know how many months or years intervene in the story) but along an emotional time line, so that you watch as one loss after another occurs, a gradual dying instead of a sudden one. At the same time the love between the two falters, but recovers, and never dies. This is why I don't find the movie depressing. It is about the power of love.

If you have ever had losses in a relationship you will enjoy this film. Or, of course, if you live with someone with Alzheimer's. Or if you are in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill. Or if you just want to see a story of "true love", but a realistic "true love". It shows the loneliness, the isolation, and too, the triumph of love. It reminds us of what is truly important.

A previous reviewer said that this was a Norwegian movie; I had thought it was Swedish. At any rate, it is Scandinavian, with English subtitles. Instead of finding this annoying, the language seemed charming to me. The director's comments in the version I watched were in English and very interesting. I watched the whole film once, and then a second time with the director's comments, something I've only done twice before in my life. This is a film I will treasure forever and I am so glad I own.
Powerful, Honest, Almost Too Real . . .and A Love Story?
B. Stockwell | San Francisco, California United States | 09/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's easy to imagine how this film would be "tamed" in an American remake; the lovers would NOT be in their 50's, they would NOT be classical musicians; the illness that takes over their lives would NOT be irreversible and it would NOT be shown in such breadth. If you've ever known someone who has wound up as a full-time caregiver - or have been there yourself - this is a VERY harrowing film and maybe TOO chock-full of reality. At first the film looks like it's going to be pretty glamorous; a well-known composer/conductor and a violinist - both with grown familes -have an affair. They chose to end their marriages, marry each other and set off happily as a musical team. Now, the DVD info hints that some sort of crisis will test their love, so when the composer has a sort of "episode" while shaving, I thought, "Ahah! Some sort of stroke thing and she will fight for her man and their love will save the day, wisdom will be gained and Life Lessons learned." Wrong. We're in Bergman territory here and the diagnosis is distressingly bad news and there will NOT be a recovery. And this news comes early in the film! What follows is a quiet depiction of a man slowly fading into himself and a woman who does everything possible to hold onto him for as long as she can, uncomplainingly and almost matter-of-factly, and to just "be there" for him. This is a love story, if you can believe that, and without gushy, weepy scenes or many outwardly spectacular displays. It's not a depressing film because the tragedy is so "conversational" and always held in check. You never say while watching this, "Man, how does she put up with it?" because, without a single Big Deal Speech, you see that love/devotion/whatever is SUPPOSED to work like this. Imagine a "Rainman" remake by Ingmar Bergman and you'll get the idea. There's a nonchalant nobility to the lead actress's actions. The film spends little time in hospitals and the lead actors are amazing. This film is not a slow descent into Hell; it's more of a slow stroll through a situation that seems unsurvivable and yet is survived. Incredible film, but not for the fainthearted. Still, I now have a clearer idea of why a person wouldn't just hand an incurable/terminal person over to the doctors and how "coping" works out here in the real world.This film has also been released - with variable subtitle options and director's commentary - on DVD under its original Norwegian title, "Ein Sang for Martin.""
Powerful, sad, and compelling
Joe Sixpack -- | Middle America | 09/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A super-depressing, but well acted, and very engrossing Swedish drama about an late-middleaged couple struggling with the husband's sudden onset of Alzheimer's-based dementia. They are both high-level musicians, and the love of art intertwines their love for life, and each other. This film is very good and certainly worth watching (it's more of a European art film than an American-style disease-of-the-month flick), but it is definitely a big old downer, so be prepared."