What to Expect from the Remake of Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Scenes From a Marriage’

It's not easy to follow in Ingmar Bergman's footsteps. But Hagai Levi is going to try.
Scenes From A Marriage Remake

Welcome to Great Expectations, a recurring series in which we break down the most essential information about an upcoming movie or show. In this edition, we look at what you can expect from the remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage.

In 1973, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman came out with what would become one of the most beloved television series of all time. Upon its release, Scenes from a Marriage received tremendous critical acclaim. Later condensed to feature-length, it also won numerous film awards.

Now, the series is being remade in America. The new Scenes from a Marriage is written and directed by Hagai Levi (The Affair) and executive produced by A Most Violent Year co-stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, who also lead the new version onscreen.

Here’s everything you need to know about Scenes from a Marriage:

Scenes From a Marriage Release Date (and Where to Watch)

The first episode of the Scenes From a Marriage remake premieres on HBO on September 12, 2021.

Scenes From a Marriage Cast

It’s hard to follow performances by acting giants like Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, who starred in Bergman’s original. Fortunately, the Scenes From a Marriage redo has some power-players in its cast. Oscar Isaac plays Jonathan, and Jessica Chastain plays his wife, Mira. Not only did they previously act together in A Most Violent Year, but fun fact: they were also classmates at Juilliard.

The cast also includes Sunita Mani (GLOW), Nicole Beharie (Shame), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), and Tovah Feldshuh.

Scenes From a Marriage Plot

Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage starts with a seemingly happy marriage between Johan and Marianne. As we get to know the characters more, however, it becomes clear that the foundations of their relationship are subject to something rotten and sinister. Johan reveals to Marianne that he is having an affair with a younger woman, and the two split up. What follows is years and years of desire, torment, heartache, and passion between the two, who can’t seem to stay away from one another for too long.

As a remake, the American version of Scenes From a Marriage likely tells the same story as its predecessor. There do seem to be a few differences, however. The protagonist’s careers are different, and now the wife, Mira, is the one who initiates the initial split.

Watch the Trailers

Partway through the main trailer for Scenes From a Marriage, Mira says: “You just believe that, as a couple, nothing can hurt you. And then you gradually start to realize that actually, anything can hurt you.”

Clearly, we are in for a world of heartbreak with this show. Watch the gut-wrenching trailers below.

People Blamed the Original Series for an Uptick in Divorce

When a television series becomes wildly popular, it is undoubtedly going to have some influence on its viewers. Sometimes, that isn’t such a good thing. In a 2008 Guardian article, Ingmar Bergman scholar Birgitta Steene recounted the way the original Scenes From a Marriage infiltrated culture when it was on the air:

“On Wednesday nights the streets were empty because everyone was at home watching Scenes From a Marriage. It was so popular it is said to have increased the national divorce rate, as spouses were able to finally articulate their grievances towards each other.”

That might be a bit of a stretch. But the new HBO remake could inspire some couples to seek counseling.

Aurora Amidon: Aurora Amidon spends her days running the Great Expectations column and trying to convince people that Hostel II is one of the best movies of all time. Read her mostly embarrassing tweets here: @aurora_amidon.