Painfully Honest

It’s unbearably wise, & sometimes difficult, but there aren’t many films out there as honest as this one.

Not many movies even come close to this one’s brutality in its genuine awareness of people.

At once poignant, considered, bitter, painfully insightful.

The above are random viewer comments on Scenes from a Marriage, the classic Ingmar Bergman film.  After it was first shown in 1973, the counseling and divorce rates in Scandinavia shot up.  Bergman says he was trying to show characters who were emotionally illiterate, so I guess that description must also apply to those of us who found the film to be remarkably honest about emotions.   Just one of hundreds of examples: each time someone in the film says they don’t care, they clearly do care.

Watching the five hour version recently made me suspect limits to my commitment to honesty.  The characters and story were engaging, but I found myself wanting to look away, to think away, to avoid facing the brutal honesty they presented.   Is my willingness to be honest a limited resource?  That is, if I choose to be more honest about relationships, might I end up being less honest about other things?  Or will expressing courage in one area give me more courage in other areas?  Arnold Kling explains this is the key question. 

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