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Movie Review: Movie Review: 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days


GolightlyGrrl

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blog-4-Months-DVD.jpg4 Months DVD

Hey, ladies. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that some people, many of them in power, want to take away your reproductive rights. And some of these people think if we outlaw abortion and lessen your access to birth control America will be right with God and nothing bad will befall our nation . But the following review shows how horrifying it is for women who have no reproductive rights at all. This movie, "4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" is both timeless and timely, and one that should inspire thoughtful discussion. (Note: This review was originally published at my blog Popcorn in My Bra)

It is communist Romania—1987. "4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" opens in university dorm room. At first, it just seems to be an ordinary day for any group of college students. They try on make-up, buy illicit cigarettes and talk about mundane topics. But you soon realize something is going on beyond idle chit-chat and daily college activities.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" takes very realistic and gritty look at two roommates, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) and Otilia (Anamaria Marinca). Gabita is pregnant and is relying on Otilia to help her procure an abortion. At the time, not only was abortion illegal in Romania, so was birth control. And though the rather dim Gabita is the one in need of an abortion, it is the more pragmatic Otilia who goes through the channels to make sure she gets one.

After leaving the dorm, Otilia starts a bleak journey going from hotel to hotel trying to find a room for Gabita to have an abortion. This can’t be done at the dorms, and obviously, they can’t go to a clinic. After she finally gets a room, she meets with a back-alley abortionist ironically known as Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov). Otilia takes Mr. Bebe to the hotel room where Gabita waits. Chillingly, Mr. Bebe describes the procedure, and shames both Gabita and Otilia for being dirty sluts. While Gabita spends some time in the bathroom, Mr. Bebe apparently rapes Otilia. We never see an actual rape scene, but Otilia coming into the bathroom, sans pants and scrubbing herself between her legs gives you a terrifying idea of what happened between her and Mr. Bebe.

Mr. Bebe discovers Gabita is further along in her pregnancy and demands more money, which the young girls somehow come up with. They will trade both their bodies and their money to go through this procedure. As Mr. Bebe commences with the abortion, he becomes very matter of fact on what will happen. During a long shot, we see him insert a probe into Gabita and inject a liquid. There is no idea how long this will take. It could take a few hours or a few days, and Gabita could get sick and die during the procedure. Mr. Bebe does not wait to find out the outcome.

Otilia also has to leave to join her boyfriend’s family for his mother’s birthday party. Otilia doesn’t say much during the dinner, but the look on her face speaks volumes. As her boyfriend’s family and friends chat about everything from food to schooling, Otilia’s emotions bubble very close to the service. She has no idea what is happening to her friend, and it is driving her mad.

Otilia soon escapes the party and goes back to the hotel to find out what has happened to Gabita. These two women have gone through a very harrowing experience, but Otilia tells Gabita that they will never talk about this ever again. It is as if it has never happened.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" is not a pro-life or pro-choice movie. It is a look at two young women living in a world of very few options. Though young, they are world weary and defeated. The scripted dialogue doesn’t hit one false note, and neither do the performances. Ms. Marinca as Otilia is exceptionally good in her role. Without melodramatics, she conveys her character’s struggles in silence using subtle facial expressions.

Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu, this movie’s aesthetic choices of no accompanying music and tight, almost claustrophobic camera shots convey dreariness of a particular moment in time.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" is not an easy movie to watch, but never does it ring false. This movie proves not all unexpected pregnancies turn out to be puppies and rainbows. This movie is the anti-Knocked Up and can inspire a great deal of difficult conversations.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days" is not rated and is in Romanian with English subtitles.

You can find a discussion of this movie here at Free Jinger.

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