Two friends take a harrowing journey in Communist Romania in order to illegally abort a baby. Cristian Mungiu’s ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’ is not a happy story at all. Its images are bleak, dark, devoid of happiness, much like the story of the two roommates.
1987, in an unknown town in Romania, two roommates, Otilia and Găbiţa secretly go about making arrangements to travel to another place for a short time. We discover that Găbiţa is pregnant and wants an abortion. However, there is one major problem – abortion is illegal in Communist Romania and getting someone to do it is even more difficult.
But Găbiţa says she has it under control, and has booked a hotel and has arranged a meeting with a certain Mr. Bebe who is supposed to carry out her abortion. However, things spiral out of control. Everything is even more distressing for Otilia, who is genuinely trying to help her roommate. When Mr. Bebe reveals certain ‘strings attached’ to the abortion plan, Otilia finds herself caught up between her sanity and compassion.
Mungiu won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for this film. The story is not a social commentary. It is not a story about mistreatment in Soviet Romania. It is a personal story of a girl.
If you’re looking for a conventional climax and denouement, this is not the right film to watch. The film is instead depressing, not visually, but emotionally. It is a real mirror into the life of people who are in a position that has changed them completely. Anamaria Marinca, who plays Otilia, perfectly brings out her character’s inner turmoil.
There is no music in this film – because music is absent in the bleakest of times.
Mungiu’s intelligent, yet sensitive understanding of women makes this a film worth a try.
FINAL VERDICT: Watch it if you want to see a realistic, yet depressing film about life in Communist Romania. Also keep an eye out for a roughly 10-minute scene where there are no edits and the camera does not even move an inch.
Avoid it if you don’t want to be depressed. Also avoid it if suspense without action makes you disappointed.