Liv Ullmann plays Dr. Jenny Isakson, a psychiatrist who is taking a vacation while her husband Dr. Erik Isakson (Sven Lindberg) is elsewhere. Haunted by visions of an old woman, Jenny suffers from profound, inexplicable depression. Desperately in search of a escape from her doldrums, she has an affair with married doctor Tomas Jacobi (Erland Josephson).
This only serves to spark an attack of hysteria for Jenny. Again visited by hallucinations of the old woman, she attempts suicide. While hovering between life and death, she imagines she sees all the people who've been influential in her life, and rails against them for causing her neuroses.
Only while recovering does she learn who the spectral old woman is and why she is undergoing so harrowing an emotional experience. Like his later Scenes From a Marriage, Bergman's Face to Face (Ansikte mot ansikte) originated as a multipart TV series, which was then pared down into a two-hour-plus feature film.