4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Review
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a 2007 Romanian drama film directed by Cristian Mungiu and starring Anamaria Marinca. It is one of the country’s most acclaimed works and it truly is a fantastic film.
It is set in 1987 and it follows two roommates who arrange an illegal abortion. This is a phenomenal plot. This is the kind of plot that is simplistic, but wonderfully so and still shows hidden layers while it unfolds. It is a slow burn as well, but far from being a boring film as it is nicely paced and slow, but always intriguing and even fascinating to follow. It has a weaker first act, but the second one is astonishing and the third is so intense and so emotionally satisfying and quite unforgettable. The whole movie is unforgettable.
It showcases the many problems of abortion and how it was back in the eighties when it was illegal in Romania. But it is timeless because it presents you with an unhappy pregnant woman who is afraid of the abortion and who has been postponing it for months. And it shows what a huge emotional toil that can have on a person, especially in those climactic last scenes and in the arguments with the doctor. It is such a relatable and emotional, but also dramatic and intense and even an unsettling and deeply depressing film. But above all it is incredibly realistic, poignant, relatable and grounded in approach as only European cinema can be.
The characters are phenomenally depicted. Otilia is the reason why this movie works in the first place. She is so realistic, so relatable and her troubles ring true. Gabita is also so wonderful as this innocent and sweet woman who unfortunately got into this big mess. The two are such great friends and they got so many heartwarming moments, especially the conclusion. As for Bebe, he is again realistic as this unlikable and harsh doctor and the family as well as the boyfriend of the protagonist are all well realized. The characters are so well developed and so grounded and relatable.
There are many scenes here that I absolutely adored. Some of the highlights are the silent ending which is superb, some incredibly intense moments near the conclusion and the argument between the doctor and the two girls. That scene is just so fantastic to behold. You get this big argument and conversation that lasts for well over ten minutes, but is so incredibly well done with not just real time, realistic behavior and speeches, but also superb acting. Yes, the acting is superb across the board, but Anamaria Marinca in particular did a spectacular job in a difficult role, giving a powerhouse performance that is one of the very best of the year. Such incredible work from a talented actress.
As I said, the dialogue is splendid. So truthful, grounded and honest, the qualities the whole film possesses. As for the highlights, another scene strikes me and that is definitely the dinner scene. It is such an authentic sequence that is again filmed in real time and lasts well over five minutes or so with a typical chat between the friends and family on a typical birthday, but what makes it so unique and so dramatic is the fact that we get to watch Otilia’s reactions and facial expressions. You see just from her face the agony she is going through and those moments are simply precious and such powerful filmmaking at display here.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is also technically polished. And if it weren’t for a slower and inferior beginning and some drawn out sequences along with the showing of the fetus which was highly unpleasant, this would have been a top-notch picture as it is that good. The editing is mostly good as is the pacing. It is slow, but it builds tension and it is rewarding in the end, especially emotionally. The acting is phenomenal with the entire cast doing a great job, but Cristian Mungiu also did a fantastic job as a director as it is such a deft and well looking film. It is well photographed with superb cinematography and some great camera angles. The approach and dialogue are both realistic and the film is incredibly memorable and relatable. It also has just the right amount of running time and its plot is wonderfully constructed. It is not only smart, but its heart is also in the right place. This is such a beautiful introduction to Romanian cinema for me and one of the best foreign movies I’ve seen up to this point.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days has an inferior beginning and it can be slow to some, but it is decidedly slower paced with a great tension and build-up and it is so well directed and filmed. But it is above all incredibly acted by Anamaria Marinca, the characters are so relatable, the conflict is realistic as is the dialogue and the approach which are stupendous and the movie is simply unforgettable with a couple of mesmerizing and instantly recognizable sequences. It is one of the best foreign movies I’ve ever seen.
My Rating – 4.5
Interior & Exterior Stills from 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 days
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