The luxuriant richness of life is captured through this portrait of a not very extra-ordinary (yet extraordinary in the sense that nothing is ordinary) family set in a horse-carriage era at the previous turn of century. It stands apart from the genre which has earned the director the nick name of "gloomy Swede". This is an exuberant film filled with joy, pain and mystery, specially when it sees life through the eyes of Alexander, the teenage boy who occupies the most space in the film. Alexander may be a parody on Hamlet, with a full fledged father-ghost, and a mother who marries a loathsome priest, but the movie ends, not in a pile of dead bodies, but the birth of three babies, two of them twins. Bergman liberally sprinkles the supernatural specially representing the pain, wonder and mystery seen through Alexander's eyes. He perhaps is the Bergman autobiographical prototype. It could well be Bergman's best film, made in his sixties, a picture painted by a person who has sipped deeply and richly, and meant to be, but was not, his final movie.