Whilst Agnes (Andersson) dies of cancer, her sisters are so immersed in their own traumas that they can’t offer her support. Maria (Ullmann) is wracked with guilt at her husband’s suicide, whilst Karin (Thulin), filled with self-loathing, regards her dying sister with revulsion. It is only Anna (Sylwan), the deeply religious maid who lost her young child, who seems able to offer Agnes empathy in Bergman’s most resonant examination of the human soul.