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4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamini Si 2 Zile) (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/10/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 113 mins

At times unbearably tense, this harrowing drama deservedly won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, thanks to superb direction, a gripping, suspenseful script and a terrific central performance from Anamaria Marinca.

What's it all about?
Set in 1987, during the last years of the Ceausescu regime, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days stars Anamaria Marinca as Otilia, a young student who shares a room with her not-too-smart best friend Gabita (Laura Vasilu) in a Bucharest hall of residence. It turns out that Otilia has procured Gabita an illegal abortion and she agrees to accompany her friend to the hotel room where the deed is to take place, despite the fact that she's expected at the house of her stroppy boyfriend, Adi (Alex Potocean) for lunch with his parents.

However, when the abortionist (Vlad Ivanov) arrives, he makes it clear that he expects more than money in return for doing the job and the girls have no option but to give him what he wants.

The Good
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days won this year's Palme D'Or at Cannes and it's certain to draw comparisons with last year's The Death of Mr Lazarescu, which also went on to arthouse success after drawing raves on the festival circuit. Cristian Mingu's direction (from his own script) is extraordinary, making extensive use of long takes and hand-held Scope camerawork to frequently jaw-dropping effect.

Anamaria Marinca is terrific as Otilia, who seems to have superhuman reserves of fortitude – part of the tension in the film comes from dreading the inevitable moment when her experiences take their emotional toll. There's also strong support from Vasilu and Vlad Ivanov is genuinely chilling as Domnu' Bebe.

The Great
In addition, Mingu orchestrates some unbearably tense sequences, most notably the scene at the dinner table with Adi's family making small talk while Otilia smiles politely, waiting for it to be over.

Worth seeing?
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is an emotionally gripping, powerful drama that demands to be seen. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 19/07/2018 00:32

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