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An American Rhapsody


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Product Details

  • Actors: Nastassja Kinski, Scarlett Johansson, Raffaella Bánsági, Tony Goldwyn, Ágnes Bánfalvy
  • Directors: Éva Gárdos
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: January 22, 2002
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RYLY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,463 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An American Rhapsody" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

This is a wonderful movie, with a great story and it is very well directed and acted.
Tom
From the escaping parents striving for a new, free life, to the immigrant child and the roots she left behind, this is a story everyone can get into.
Global citizen
I am still unsure whether it was shown like this only for the movie, or it was an accurate account.
Balint Kacsoh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 4, 2001
This is the writer/director, Eva Gardos' own story. It begins with the young actress Scarlett Johansson, cast as Suzanne, standing on a bridge in Budapest. The year is 1965. "I was 15 and my life was already falling apart," she says, "so I came back to Hungary where it all began." What follows is an extended flashback to 1950. A married couple, Margit and Peter, played by Natassja Kinski and Tony Goldwyn, have to escape from Hungary. They have two young daughters and can only take the older one who is five years old. They have to leave the baby behind because it would be too dangerous if the baby cried. We see their escape and feel their tension -- bribing guards, running across a field, traveling in a train dressed as peasants. We see their love for their baby and the distress when they find out that their plans for having her smuggled out to join them in Vienna are thwarted. To save the baby, the Grandmother, played by Agnes Banafalvy, makes arrangements to have the baby raised by a childless peasant couple, Teri and Jeno, played by Zsuzsa Czinkoczi and Balazs Galko. They come to love the little girl as their own and she grows up loving them as well. In the meantime, the Margit and Peter and their older daughter arrive in America. They never stop trying to get their younger daughter out by writing letters to public officials. Finally, after six years, they obtain permission to bring their little girl to America.
What follows is perhaps the strongest part of the film as the child who knows only the peasant family as her own and who doesn't speak a word of English, is suddenly taken from her idyllic childhood and thrust into a life in a small Los Angeles suburb. The young actress who plays the 6-year old Suzanne, Kelly Endresz-Banlaki is wonderful.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2001
AN AMERICAN RHAPSODY, directed by Éva Gárdos, is a poignant film about family, the concept of "home", and the promise America held out to the refugees fleeing Stalin's Eastern Europe in the years following World War II.
The movie begins in the late 40's as infant Suzanne is left behind in Budapest with her grandmother as her parents, Margit and Peter, flee with an older daughter to the West and the suburbs of Los Angeles. The grandmother, Helen, is soon arrested, and the baby is taken in by a childless couple, Jeno and Teri, who live in the countryside. Suzanne remains with her doting foster parents for six years, becoming as attached to them as if she was their own child. When Stalin finally dies, the grandmother is released, and soon removes Suzanne from her rural home and sends her alone to California to be reunited with the biological parents. After an initial fascination with American affluence, food and toys, Suzanne becomes deeply homesick. Her father makes a deal with her; try to accept life with the family and, when she is older, he promises to send her back to Hungary to visit the "parents" she pines for. The girl struggles at it for nine years, demonstrating increasing passive hostility towards her over-controlling mother, who wishes to protect her from the evils of the day, boys and cigarettes. (My, how times have changed!). Finally, after a confrontation between Suzanne and Margit that escalates to near violence while Peter is off on a business trip, Dad finally keeps his promise. What 15 year old Suzanne discovers back in Hungary is the crux of the story.
All of the adult actors are superb: Nastassja Kinski (Margit), Tony Goldwyn (Peter), Agi Banfalvy (Helen), Zsusza Czinkoczi (Teri), and Balazs Galko (Jeno, with the engaging handlebar moustache).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Balint Kacsoh on June 12, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I must preface this review by stating that I have a bias: Like the writer-director, Éva Gardos, whose own story is depicted by the movie, I am an immigrant from Hungary. I did not experience the Rákosi-Stalin era, just the milder version of totalitarian communist rule under Kádár, yet I am fully aware of the historical backdrop of the movie. I can vouch easily that it captures the feel of the era. A review written by Linda Linguvic (see below) accurately tells the story, and I don't wish to repeat it here.
I like movies, but I never had an experience like this. I started to watch the movie after a long day of work, late in the evening. My wife joined only about 40 minutes later and, because next day was to be an especially busy one at work, she wanted to go to sleep at a point that was little over half-way into the movie. I stopped the movie, and went to bed. It was a mistake. I couldn't fall asleep until about 2 a.m. The movie strirred me up more than I thought. I am emotionally stable, and this was a totally unusual reaction. I attribute it to the fact that the movie hits close to home, and that it is marvelously done.
This is a story that does not focus on the villains, but the pervasiveness of an evil system, and against this historic background, it tells the story of love, decency, self-sacrifice, and every-day heroism. The main focus is on those, who loved "Suzanne" ("Zsuzsi"), i.e. Éva Gardos: her biological parents, her grandmother, and her foster parents.
The American actors learned their lines in Hungarian to add authenticity to the movie. In spite of their accent, their job was exceedingly well done.
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