To Joy concerns two promising violinists, played by Stig Olin and Maj-Britt Nilsson. He’s ambitious and frustrated. She pursues him. The two marry, have children, but drift apart as Olin fails to achieve his dreams.
I appreciated the story and performances, but struggled with Olin’s character. What does Nilsson see in him? The difference between tortured genius and delusional arrogance is talent, which Olin’s character lacks.
Maybe director Ingrid Bergman was projecting his own self-doubt. He’d made eight features, but had yet to breakthrough outside his native Sweden. His second marriage had just ended, making him twice divorced. Between his two failed marriages, he’d fathered five children. Is it a strech to view Olin as a Bergman surrogate? Perhaps. But whatever the reason, I struggled to invest in Olin, and this dissonance muted the film’s impact.