"Based on a short film made for a UK-based film challenge by Swedish director David F. Sandberg and his wife Lotta Losten, the two were more than surprised that their 162-second movie—that didn't win best film—went viral, generating the attention of millions, including Hollywood and famed horror producer James Wan."
(Catherine Chapman, 29 April 2016, The Creators Project)
"There are other Expressionist and certainly Freudian dream sequences in the picture, almost always with the old man appearing in them as his present self. And some of these, largely because so many have badly copied, now look a little self–conscious– arty even. But the film's ability to engage the emotions makes it notable for more than just technique.
One of the prime reasons is what can only be described as the transcendent performance of Victor Sjostrom as Professor Borg. Sjostrom was the great Swedish silent–era director, who died aged 80, not long after the film was completed and whose The Phantom Carriage had so influenced Bergman. It was he who made the final scene one of the most serene of all Bergman's endings. 'Sjostrom's face shone', said the director. 'It emanated light – a reflection of a different reality, hitherto absent. His whole appearance was soft and gentle, his glance joyful and tender. It was like a miracle'.
Later, Bergman admitted that the character of Borg was an attempt to justify himself to his own parents, but that Sjostrom had taken his text, made it his own and invested it with Sjostrom's often painful experiences. It is still, however, chiefly concerned with forgiveness between parents and children and the lost possibilities of youth."
(Derek Malcolm, 10 June 1999)
Ingmar "Bergman's restless mind wouldn't even leave him to rest during a brief hospital stay, which is where he wrote the script for one of his earliest forays into the nature of age, memory and self–reflection. The core of the film had come to him the previous year while driving through his old hometown of Uppsala, past his grandmother's house. His fertile imagination wondered how it might be if he could open the door and step back into his own childhood, and from this kernel grew Wild Strawberries. In Swedish the title of Smultronstället has deeper meaning than just referring to a wild strawberry patch, it has a colloquial sense of a place invested with personal or sentimental value, often undervalued until it returns to memory in a nostalgic fashion. Which is precisely what the lead character of Isak Borg experiences throughout the film, falling backwards through his memories, attempting to make sense of his life in his final years. It's not an unusual thing for a Bergman film to be filled with casual slips between reality and dreams/memories, or to be populated with characters whose role is to aid our protagonist on his/her internal quest, but the lead character is not what we might envision in Bergman's work. Isak Borg is not a cruel man, but his self–centred cynicism and rampant egotism set him apart from the majority of other Bergman leads. But he needs to be such a vaguely unlikable character for the audience to experience the full impact of his self–realisation, dragged through a series of memories and forced to confront his continuing failures and inadequacies. A loveable, upright character would not have been able to supply so much powerful redemption in the final reel."
(Craig Andrews, Media Resource Centre)