The film “Autumn Sonata” is a terribly sad story about the relationship between a mother and a daughter, and shows how much a childhood can influence the way one grows up. This film is about facing and overcoming challenges, it is also about relationships that seem to be fine, but are very tainted. The meaning of life in this movie is very different for both characters, and only enforces the differences in the way their lives turn out to be.
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Eva is the daughter, and she is a very sad character. It is obvious that she cares about her mother, and moreover, her mother’s approval. It is obvious through the very first lines in the play, that she has had quite a difficult childhood, and feels as though she is completely incapable of loving. Her relationship with her husband (Victor) is very friend-like, although it is obvious that they have grown to love each other. Victor is very good with Eva, and understands her in a very different way than her mother does. Although Eva seems to distance herself from him, and doesn’t tell him why she seemed to be incapable of loving, he is still very understanding of her privacy, and treats with respect in that way. The way in which Eva first begun to love Victor was when they had their first and only child. She never thought that she’d have a child, and when this child did come into their life, it seemed like a miracle to her, and she felt love for the first time – which eventually caused her to love Victor. Eva’s best relationship is that with her severely challenged sister, Helena. Her relationship with Helena, proves that even though Helena is a very different person than she was when she was a child, Eva still sees her as her sister and as a human being, which doesn’t seem to be the way that her mother sees her.
Charlotte too has had a challenging life, although in a much more glamorous way. She knows that she was not a good mother when Eva and Helena were children, but because she was on the verge of being so famous, she didn’t see her children as glamorous, which is what she strived to be. It wasn’t that Charlotte didn’t love her daughters; she just didn’t have time to be a mother, because she was so focused on become a piano star. Charlotte’s relationships with most people had to do with schmoozing, and making sure that she was constantly the center of attention for most people in the room. She would always appear to be the innocent one in all situations; this is evident in the scene where she comes back from a two month vacation, and when Eva isn’t overly excited to see her, she makes Eva feel bad about that. Eva feels terrible about lashing out to her mother about what Charlotte did to Eva as a child. Perhaps, Eva lashes out because she had the opportunity for a very small amount of time to be a mother, and she loved that child, and did not want to ever leave him alone; like her mother had done to her. Another reason why she has so much against her mother, is that her mother never felt the need to come and meet her own grandchild, and even after the child died, she made no effort to come and console her own daughter. This is very odd, and proves that Charlotte has a lot of regrets in her life, and doesn’t want to deal with them. Another example that proves this is that she avoids her daughter Helena at all costs; since this movie takes place in the past, they probably do not know the cause of her disease, and perhaps Charlotte blames herself, since it appears that Eva too blames Charlotte. The scene where the mother has a dream about the person strangling her, is a bit of foreshadowing about her fight with Eva. It begins with the hand clasping her hand, which would seem motherly and friendly, but the hand than makes it’s way over to the neck and begins to strangle her, which would seem to prove that she is about to face a lot of things that will ‘cause her to think about her life more. The meaning of life for Charlotte was to cover up her past mistakes by guilting people into thinking she was the innocent one. She realizes the mistakes that she made, and doesn’t want to have to face them, even though she will grow as a person when she allows that to happen.
Overall, this film shows that there can be a lot of hidden anger within a person, and it is impossible for a relationship to continue in a manner like that, without one being suspicious about the relationship. Eva and Charlotte’s relationship is very complicated and is constantly being covered by guilt and by secrets. Charlotte’s glamorous lifestyle conflicts greatly with the average yet devastating life of Eva, and because of that, it seems as though they are completely different people, with absolutely no relationship to each other. This movie is filled with beautiful and devastating scenes, and although this is a sad story, it is very common.
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