American Rhapsody

An American Rhapsody

Director: Eva Gardos, Nastassja Kinski, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Goldwyn

Cast: Eva Gardos, Nastassja Kinski, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Goldwyn

     
 

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A true story based on the life story of writer/director Eva Gardos, this film depicts the personal odyssey of a family's escape from Communist Hungary. One night, Margaret (Nastassja Kinski) and Peter (Tony Goldwyn) arrange to escape Hungary with their eldest daughter in tow, forcing them to leave behind their youngest, Suzanne, in the care of Margaret's mother. When

Overview

A true story based on the life story of writer/director Eva Gardos, this film depicts the personal odyssey of a family's escape from Communist Hungary. One night, Margaret (Nastassja Kinski) and Peter (Tony Goldwyn) arrange to escape Hungary with their eldest daughter in tow, forcing them to leave behind their youngest, Suzanne, in the care of Margaret's mother. When the mother is separated from the young child, she goes to live in a peaceful Eastern European countryside with a loving man and woman who raise her until age six, where Suzanne is sent for by her birth parents, now living in America. She finds the adjustment difficult and does not fully comprehend that Margaret and Peter are her parents, but she is willing to stay, and if she feels the same way in several years, Peter has agreed to give her a ticket back to Hungary. Later, as a rebellious teenager (played by Scarlett Johansson), with Margaret becoming a highly overprotective mother, she takes her father up on his offer to go back and reconnect with those who raised her as a child. While in Hungary, she has a change of heart , however, and discovers her true identity. The feature also co-stars Mae Whitman, Emmy Rossum, and Larisa Oleynik.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Never less than fascinating and frequently quite poignant, American Rhapsody is a coming-of-age drama based on the real-life experiences of its director, Eva Gardos. Her cinematic doppelgänger, named Suzanne, is just a baby when she’s left with a loving foster family while her real parents, Margit (Nastassja Kinski) and Peter (Tony Goldwyn), flee their native Hungary to escape Stalin’s invading Red Army. At age six, she is reunited with them in Southern California and becomes a rebellious teen whose transgressions eventually force Margit to take drastic action. Scarlett Johansson plays the teenage Suzanne with extraordinary intensity, and she is ostensibly the plot’s focal point, but it’s Kinski who dominates the show with what is perhaps her most affecting performance. Margit has lived through the horrors of World War II and Communist aggression, though not without acquiring psychic scars. And in her determination to shelter Suzanne, she only manages to alienate the daughter who still has difficulty accepting her as a mother. Kinski, whose own upbringing was troubled, latches onto Margit with a quiet ferocity she’s never before exhibited on screen. Gardos, a veteran film editor making her directorial debut, tells her tale with novelistic flourishes and reveals a remarkable facility with cinematic storytelling techniques. She also joins with producer Colleen Camp to offer a feature-length commentary on the DVD.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
While An American Rhapsody too often plays as a well-made television feature, the film is imbued with enough attention to detail and unfettered affection by writer/director Eva Gardos to be a memorable account of displacement and assimilation. The first half of the film is especially strong, effectively detailing the family dynamic of its central story, and succinctly illustrating the struggle of a youngster's unforeseen culture clash. The film goes flat in its second half, however, where the characters experience unexplained emotional changes; Scarlet Johansson's performance as the older Suzanne lacks focus and fails to convince the audience that she is a genuinely rebellious sort. Still, the personal nature of the story is well realized and the film's earnest depiction of its events is actually a credit. Rhapsody never attempts to be too sprawling or too epic, which gives it an appealing quaintness. The film opened the 2001 Nantucket Film Festival.
Los Angeles Times
Manages to skirt the edge of excessive sentiment without falling victim to it. Kenneth Turan
Hollywood Reporter
An absorbing, heartfelt memoir of immigrant life. Kirk Honeycutt

Product Details

Release Date:
05/28/2002
UPC:
0097363394433
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Paramount

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nastassja Kinski Margit
Scarlett Johansson Suzanne
Tony Goldwyn Peter
Agnes Banfalvy Helen
Zsuzsa Czinkoczi Teri
Mae Whitman Actor
Lisa Jane Persky Actor
Colleen Camp Actor
Larisa Oleynik Actor
Eva Soreny Actor
Kata Dobo Actor

Technical Credits
Eva Gardos Director,Screenwriter
Colleen Camp Producer
Cliff Eidelman Score Composer
Jay Firestone Executive Producer
Patricia Foulkrod Co-producer
Margie Goodspeed Editor
Peter Kardos Sound/Sound Designer
Beatrix Aruna Pasztor Costumes/Costume Designer
Elemer Ragalyi Cinematographer
Eric Sandys Executive Producer
Alex Tavoularis Production Designer
Tony Thatcher Executive Producer
Bonnie Timmermann Producer
Vanessa Vogel Costumes/Costume Designer

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