MovieChat Forums > Stromboli (1950) Discussion > Karin = most annoying Ingrid Bergman cha...

Karin = most annoying Ingrid Bergman character?


All she did throughout the entire film was whine, feel sorry for herself, mope around like a depressed idiot and wait for other people to solve her problems. In the end she lies on top of the volcano, whining at *God* this time around. I wanted her to jump into the volcano. She seemed too dumb to live. Beautiful yes, but a moron. Thank you Rossellini for your empowering female portrait.

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Unfortunately I agree... During the first 10 minutes she spends on the island, you actually feel sorry for her and then it's just downhill from then on. I know all movie characters are not supposed to be perfect and I usually hate the all-too-perfect heroes. I cannot empathize with a perfect character but man... there should have been at least ONE redeeming quality to her character that made you feel sympathy for her. She was in a hell of her own choosing and when finally she decides to leave instead of just moping around and blaming everyone but herself for her unhappiness, she just stands on top of the volcano, whining some more.

I was watching with my sister and just I was thinking 'Jump already and finish it', my sister just went 'Oh Lord, has there ever been a more annoying character?!' Truly horrible.

But then every time I ask someone why they like the movie, they throw pretentious film school 101 words like 'Neorealism' around and can never go any further to explain what made the movie so great.

Honestly the scene with the Tuna fishing and the Volcano eruption are the most interesting scenes of the movie... but that's a documentary, no need for an excuse of a script with stereotypical characters to build around it.

For every lie I unlearn I learn something new - Ani Difranco

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What?! How can you both be so shallow on your analysis?

First of all, I urge you to find any actress that performs that role (or another one similar) nearly as great as she did. She embodied the character so well, showing the audience her deepest emotions: her imprisonment, her isolation, her lack of sociability due to the low acceptance she had on the island. She was so big that she even strenghtned the other actors/perfomers appearance. She actually shows, by her acting, the natural incompatibility between her and the environment where she was dragged to.

Moreover, even if you don't see her magistral performance, there are two additional things that she contributed to and that made this film so great.

The first one is definitely the story and its symbolism. You have the natural kind of story of post-war Italy, which revolves around the famous neo-realism from that period. Not only Bergman is great on this aspect, but also the way Rossellini handled the story makes the film greater than what it would have been had the director been someone else. The island represents the isolation: she is taken there, hoping to be going to somewhere where she can meet new people and build her project of life, and she finds a small, deserted and mid-destroyed island. For someone used to live like a "lady", someone with wishes, ambition and demanding a certain life style, it is perfectly normal to behave the way Bergman portrayed.
And what about that volcano? It is kinda like her husband, who both attacks and imprisons her, waving in a "character" of continuous rage and fear.
Then you have the other symbolism: the fish trapped, the population evading the eruption by going to the sea on the boats (and then returning to the island to continue their daily lives) the eruption when she tries to run away from there, by trying to reach the other end of the island - this is all part of the mise-en-scene that is extremely important in order to understand her performance. This film is full of symbolism and Bergman fits so perfectly on it!

The other thing you cannot forget is the directing itself. How many filmakers can you imagine doing such a perfect and antological scene like the fishery one? And the eruption? And Karin evading in the end? He actually gave life to the volcano and the island, which actually helped and strenghtned Bergman's performance.

I'm sorry, but how can you miss all these things? I mean, it is okay not to like the way she acts. I can deal with that, it's perfectly natural. But saying that she was "annoying" or "whiner" is completely off-base. Believe me, you have got to have seen more from the film that just a fool woman dragging herself around the walls of her house.

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Compared to her performances in her previous movies, she is whiney, indeed. But it was a labor of love for Ingrid, since she left her husband for director Rossellini. And love makes actors do strange things, like eat the scenery like it was- stromboli.

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Why the assumption that characters, male or female, need to be "empowering," as if the main purpose of movies was to provide worthy role models? Movies should cover the entire gamut of human personalities (not everyone one is a superman or superwoman), and the only valuable question to ask of a character is, is he/she convincing or well drawn?

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There's nothing shallow about having an opinion. It's shallow to insult someone for having an opinion that is different from yours. The character was boring and, after the first thirty minutes, I felt no sympathy for her.

"If I don't suit chu, you kin cut mah thoat!"

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It was unusual for a Italian Neo - Realist film to have an unsympathatic protagonist. In other Neo - Realist films such as Bicycle Thevies, Umberto D and Paisa the protagonists were sympathic because they were placed into a difficult situation based on external actions. Karin got herself into a difficult situation due to her poor judgement by thinking of only herself. Therefore it was very hard to sympathise with her.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not".

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It's true, the character kept letting me down --- considering that she had come through the most terrible war in the history of mankind, and that she married with her eyes wide open (how wealthy and cosmopolitan did she realistically expect her husband to be, after all?). I was disappointed by the lack of desire between two young people in a setting that was quite beautiful. If they had been in love, they would have made it a paradise, really. But I kept thinking, "who does she remind me of?" Andof course! It was my own mother! My mother was a beautiful and spoiled woman who married my father after WWII, expecting the American Dream. He was a former B-24 pilot in the Pacific with a serious and understandable case of nerves but a really sweet funny and goodhearted person. But his efforts to start a business ultimately ended in a humble lifestyle and my mother became a bundle of dissatisfaction and even rage that she couldn't live her dreams of 1950s style glamour and success. A very sad story. But people are bounded by their own limitations; they don't live up to their potential.

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I know you made the OP a while ago, but having just seen the movie for the second time, I just want to throw some stuff out there. I did not like the character of Karen. I don't think you are supposed to. It is not about liking or not liking. It is about observing, almost like the documentary aspect of the Fish Catch and the Volcano Eruption. This woman was in an unacceptable circumstance at the beginning of the movie which she wished to escape. Did she think through what her choice of this man would mean? No, she developed an idea and when reality did not live up to that idea she was unhappy just as at the first and wanted to escape again. She blatantly uses her 'charms' to secure money from the Lighthouse fellow--have you ever seen such little touches as she displays in this scene: leads him to a private dark cool place, unties and removes her sandals, touches his foot with her own, turns alluringly to him. I do not admire her for it, but I see and I understand that this is her power, this is her way to achieve what she wants. Even when she leaves, taking that sad suitcase with her to climb over the volcano and gain the other side, what a reduction of circumstance! Her dreams, where are they now? And as life conspires against her--she certainly feels this way--as the volcano abuses her like her husband and the villagers, as she casts off everything in hope of just living--even the purse in which she had stuffed that thick roll of money--can't you at least feel her desperation? She calls out to God, whom she really hasn't had much use for, and asks for what? For the life she imagines? No, for the strength to go on for the sake of the life within her.

Maybe it is because I am older, in my 50's, and have lived long enough to know that one seldom achieves their dreams and fantasies just as one imagined, that one must learn to accept and be happy within what circumstances they find themselves, I can see Karen with understanding and hope that she will learn now to grow past her selfishness.

(I know people seem to focus on the film-making technique/style of this movie. I have to say I did not like it and felt it was a distraction. The film felt choppy and incoherent at times. Unscripted--which I have read since was very nearly the truth. In a way that all combined to project Karen's feelings to me. That was perhaps the way she felt her world was and why she reacted the way she did.)

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I found this movie quite odd, can't say I really enjoyed it, but it did keep my interest. Karin is not a likable person, which appears to be what is intended, though I do identify with her reaction to the brutality of her husband's world and the art and beauty she longs for.

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Obviously casting Bergman as a petty whore worked for Rossellini. Could this be the greatest artwork ever made? It's like the Divine Comedy, only this time Dante gets laid

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Whiny? Annoying? So are most of these posts.

What's your point?

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Yeah and so spoilt, why did she even maary Antonio and you never marry Before you know where to live. STupid woman, right to her.

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The character was flawed period. And considering the thing she went through during the war and postwar, and the decision she had to settle down for someone that she did not even love, I think it is perfect that she was whinny.

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