Have kids and be happy. As simple as that.
Two small-town university students, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) share a room in order to do an illegal abortion. Otilia then sets about renting a room in a shabby but expensive hotel, in readiness for Mr Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), an abortionist who they’ve been led to believe will do the job for the money they’ve scraped together.
Abortion is no easy subject to talk about, let alone actually have as the main subject in your movie. Director Cristian Mungiu knows this and makes it even harder to take in.
This film could have easily been another simple story about two college girls who plan an abortion but it’s the direction from Mungiu that sets it apart. It’s no mystery, I love one-shots. It’s always something that looks so cool and adds so much more tension to the screen rather than just simply jumping all around from camera-to-camera. Here, Mungiu uses many of these kinds of shots and it brings the same amount of tension to every scene but also gives you this large sense of realism, as if you’re watching a documentary of a true story play out right in front of your face. It’s a very dark, bleak, and rather depressing film and without adding any score music for the background, color to the sets (the most color in this flick is the scenes in the hotel lobby, and that’s not even saying much), or fancy camera tricks, the film still makes you feel like nothing good will come out of this situation that these dumb-ass kids got themselves into.
A lot of people talk about how this is a social commentary on the oppressive Communist regimes or illegal abortions that were taken place during this time, but I think of it more of as a look into the dynamics what human friendships really are like. These two kids obviously will try anything to make sure the other one gets what they want, but they don’t realize the price that it may come away with. We also get a very deep look into what happens to a person when they do something, that effs with their mind completely and how everything around them is very intense. I can’t say what goes down in this flick that causes all of this tension later on in the story but it’s very messed up, and yes, it’s more messed up than the whole abortion element which tells you that it’s very messed up. Did I mention that it’s messed up?
However, that’s where my problem for this film lied was that it wasn’t anything more than a look at human friendships and the main subject it talks about, isn’t really anything new. The film shows us this illegal abortion and what emotions its bringing to these students but the film’s main point (if there was one) about abortion itself is sort of left in the wind. Actually, even if there was one, they didn’t really find a way to say anything original about it in the first place which basically means that whatever your opinions are about abortion already are, after viewing this flick, they won’t change or be altered. It’s kind of disappointing considering you don’t know what this film is really going for and then in the end, you start to realize that maybe it’s not going for anything at all. It just shows that abortions are bad. But hey, you didn’t hear that from me so please don’t start up a fight with me in the comments section. Please.
Where this film really hit in the gut was with its performances that seem very, very natural as if these people weren’t even acting in the first place. Anamaria Marinca is amazing here as Otilia, a duty-bound chick that’s very straight to the point and seems like a very smart girl, which obviously had me wondering just what the hell she was doing getting caught up in a situation like this. She has some really good scenes here, considering the whole film is practically focused in on her, but this one dinner scene where the camera just stays on her is great as you see all of her emotions throughout that period of time, just flow right through her face. It’s a great scene but it’s also a little hard to watch her face and read the subtitles at the same time. The more naive chick, Gabita, is also played very well by Laura Vasiliu and provides plenty of scenes where it’s obvious that this chick doesn’t care about anyone else except for her and her fetus. Both characters are pretty unsympathetic and it allows us more room to wonder why these characters would ever get into a situation like this, and just why are they doing what they’re doing.
Consensus: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days may not have anything new or creative to say about it’s controversial subject matter, but it features gut-wrenching performances from both Marinca and Vasiliu, and has a very straight-forward direction from Mungiu that gives it this dark and gritty look, but also very realistic feel that blends in well with the dark atmosphere of the Communist attitudes around this time.