Edit, who became the wife of a politician out of a simple peasant girl, suddenly becomes a widow as a result of an accident. She never loved her husband. She lives a wealthy and lonely life amidst false friends, facing one of the last alternatives of her life, i.e. having to face her past in the hope of an independent new beginning. Her sons do not even try to understand her. István, who is of the opposite political conviction than his father used to be but has the same autocratic personality, blames her intention to give up her life-insurance and luxurious apartment on hysteria. He has her watched by Kati, his fiancée, in order to prevent her from violating his father’s authority and destroying appearances.
«It is clear in Mészáros’s films, that there are no women, who don’t pay, whether salaried or not. The heroine of “Binding Sentiments” unusual among Meszaros’s heroines for not being a factory worker, is an older woman suddenly confronted with the implications of her life when her husband, a respected intellectuals, dies. Her efforts to shed her role as a grieving but affluent widow are fought her son, who literally holds her prisoner in an attempt to make her “see reason”, that is, to behave as a woman ought in patriarchal terms. The son’s girlfriend goes along with his plans until she becomes sickened by the role of jailer and leaves, and the film ends on an ambivalent note, as we see a ring of young boys encircling trapping two little girls, closing them in.»
(Barbara Halpen Martineau, The Films of Márta Mészáros or, The Importance of Being Banal. Film Quarterly, 1980. Berkeley. 25.)