Graduation (2016)

Graduation……………………………………………………………..

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation is a 2016 Romanian drama film directed by terrific Cristian Mungiu. It is one of the year’s finest movies.

It follows a doctor who delves deeper and deeper into corruption in order to secure his daughter’s degree and future after her unfortunate sexual assault. This is such a powerful, deeply unsettling human tale that I enjoyed immensely and I was riveted by its sheer power and how engaging its dialogue and story is.

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Graduation Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Once again we get the signature hyper-realistic dialogue from Mungiu and he truly excels at creating real-life dramas that not only seem realistic, but the characters and the situations as well as the acting seem truly real and it was like watching real life unfold right in front of you. That’s how powerful his direction is.

Romanian cinema is truly reaching greatness and although I simply loved ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’, Graduation might even be better which is a huge accomplishment. It is one of the year’s finest movies and it quite possibly could end up being the year’s best foreign feature.

Graduation is such a thematically rich work that I was enthralled by its relatability and clever script and dialogue. First of all, I thought that they perfectly showcased corruption and its consequences and how it is always wrong no matter how right it seems. I loved its take on parenting issues and truly these parents felt super real and incredibly flawed as is the case with almost every parent out there. They basically shielded their daughter and thus ruined her capability in the real world and she definitely felt too vulnerable which was all the fault of her mother and father. They even hid their break-up from her which was just tragic to behold and super relatable as that sort of scenario happens all the time.

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Graduation Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

But I just loved every conversation regarding Eliza’s future. We see wonderfully the conflicting nature of this situation. Her mother doesn’t want her to go to Britain and she thinks that life in Romania can be perfectly solid whereas Romeo the father is desperate that she leaves the country for a better future. That despair the people here feel about their home country and how they think that in terms of finance and fine jobs good life is almost impossible in Romania is perfectly in line with my own country Serbia which is the reason why I found the film incredibly relatable.

What I also found relatable is the film’s handling of corruption in the form of business connections. That also felt really relatable to me as that is also something that these two countries share. How the people talked and how they helped each other was on point and incredibly realistic.

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Graduation Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Romeo is such a great character and I felt sorry for Magda and she in particular was a tragic figure as her entire life is basically wasted and I found that sense of despair in the air palpable and oh so hard to watch. The same goes for Sandra and her problems were very well incorporated into the movie too. All of the characters here, even the minor ones, had purpose and felt real which is a testament to how strong both the dialogue and the character development here is. And of course the script and acting. Adrien Titieni is so memorable and very strong in a difficult role, but all of the others did a great job as well and everyone felt like a real person.

Now Graduation isn’t a perfect movie. It is as close as a newly released movie can get, but it still had its problems which prevented me from giving it the highest grade. Its major flaw is the complexity of the plot which is commendable, but comes with its shortcomings. I am of course talking about the somewhat implausible aspect of the plot in which everything clashed down on the characters and they were hit by one accident after another. I get that the director wanted to include as many real life issues as possible, but it still felt a bit unrealistic and a bit too much. And no matter how much I loved its crime elements (that sequence in which he chases a suspicious man was immensely intense), it still felt tacked on and almost unnecessary, especially because they didn’t resolve the crime which again felt realistic, but it also took away the needless amount of running time from the more important goings on in the story.

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Graduation Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

But Graduation is otherwise an immaculate movie that is almost perfectly constructed both in terms of storytelling and pacing. It is incredibly involving and always engaging to follow. Its editing is very deft and its cinematography was very memorable. Some of the scenes were wonderfully shot and even intense, the camera angles were excellent and the movie has no score which worked in its favor as it wasn’t needed for this type of story. And the direction from Cristian Mungiu is simply amazing and professional as is the entire movie on all levels. The tone is overly serious, but the film demanded it. And it is so unpleasant to watch at times, but in the best way possible as it emotionally devastates you, but not that you need to cry, but that you become overwhelmed by the tragic, awful lives the characters lead and that feeling is indescribably sad in its own right and the film evoked it magnificently.

Graduation is an almost immaculate movie. It is perfectly acted, so well shot and magnificently directed by always fascinating Cristian Mungiu, it is a movie that skillfully evokes that awful sense of despair and regret which is a testament to amazing character development, thematically rich script, many relatable and painful situations and such a hyper-realistic, just fantastic dialogue. It is the best 2016 film I’ve seen so far and it is the work that sharesboth immense emotional power and tough realism.

My Rating – 4.5

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Posted in 2010s, 2016, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, MOVIE REVIEWS, Romanian and tagged , , , , , .

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