An American Rhapsody
Based on her own childhood, writer/director Eva Gardos crafts an enchanting, oft-touching portrait of familial bonds in An American Rhapsody. When her family flees Hungary in the 1950s for America, baby Suzanne is left behind and raised by sweet peasants living in the countryside. Her distraught mother, Margit (Nastassja Kinski), bombards American politicians with letters pleading to have her daughter returned to her in the States. Answering her call, Suzanne is reunited with her biological ma, pa, and older sis at age 5. She then matures into an average American teen (played by Ghost World's Scarlett Johansson) with not-so-average feelings of adolescent isolation. As Suzanne takes on the role of the reckless teen (sneaking out to see her boyfriend and smoking cigarettes in her room), Margit assumes the role of the ineffectual controlling mother. Almost entirely foregoing any political commentary in favor of a focus on the personal, Gardos serves up a winning tale about the intricacies of maternal relationships. Tapping into the ways these relationships are inevitably wrought with miscommunication and misguided love, An American Rhapsody makes up for its familiar story with its able cast. If you can forgive the film for its trite closing lines, it should, as its title indicates, sweep you off your feet. (Rachel Deahl) Opens at the Charles Theatre Sept. 14.