Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac spar in the Scenes From a Marriage trailer

Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece, said to increase Sweden’s rate of divorce, is getting a second life on TV courtesy of HBO.


Charles Bramesco


To attempt a remake of something as oft-imitated and seldom-equalled as Ingmar Bergman‘s classic Scenes From a Marriage might sound like a losing proposition. But if you’re going to do it anyway, you’d do well to start off with two of the most talented, accomplished thespians of their generation.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac seem to comport themselves well in the first trailer for the upcoming HBO miniseries reviving the landmark of Swedish drama, though it’s somewhat hard to tell with all the dialogue muted behind Isaac’s gentle lullaby. All the same, we can see them going through the pained expressions and verbal sparring matches one would expect from any take on Bergman’s portrait of domestic disharmony.

The starring pair take the torch from original cast members Erland Josephson (portraying a malcontent psychology professor named Jonas) and Liv Ullmann (as the career lawyer Marianne), though it has yet to be seen whether they’ll be involved in these same all-too-significant professions. The establishing shot of their cluttered, book-stuffed office would suggest that showrunner Hagai Levy is staying faithful to these details, seeding the same gendered tensions they once did between the characters.

In terms of fresh information teasing this highly anticipated project, we catch a glimpse of couple-friends Corey Stoll and Nicole Beharie stopping by for a convivial dinner sure to break down into conflict for the main pair later in the night. Further research reveals that small-screen character-actor treasures Tovah Feldshuh and Sunita Mani will also figure into all this, in some way.

The question of doing right by Bergman aside, the opportunity to see two dramatic heavyweights go toe-to-toe in no-holds-barred emotional sparring matches will be more than enough reason to tune in for many viewers when the miniseries runs later this year. Two conspicuously gorgeous performers shall enter; no matrimonial union shall leave.

Scenes from a Marriage will come to HBO in September. 

Published 9 Jul 2021

Tags: Hagai Levy HBO Ingmar Bergman Jessica Chastain Oscar Isaac Scenes from a Marriage

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