These two scenes — of Anna, embracing Agnes, and of Karin and Maria touching like frightened kittens — are two of the greatest Bergman has ever created. The feeling in these scenes — I should say, the way they force us to feel — constitutes the meaning of this film. It has no abstract message; it communicates with us on a level of human feeling so deep that we are afraid to invent words for the things found there. — Roger Ebert, 1973