February 06, 2008
MOVIE: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
This is not the kind of movie I would go see on my own. In general I have a hard time sitting myself down to documentaries or even fictional films with a strong documentary element. My friend Judy described this one as "the Romanian abortion movie" which didn't make it sound any more enticing. So I had to be dragged to this one, but I'm happy that I have friends who drag me to these things, especially when the movie turns out to be as good as this.
This movie is set in the 80s during communist regime in Romania. I don't think I've seen neo-realism employed for a period movie before, and I find that to be quite innovative. I didn't even realize that the movie wasn't set in current time, and throughout the whole thing I kept thinking, "oh my god, rotary phones???" and "that acid washed jean shirt is heinous!" It's definitely a glimpse into a very different world, where every action carries much heavier consequences than we're used to.
There's been much praise of the dinner party scene, but I found that scene to be a little too long and obvious, though well acted & written. For me the real standout was the scene where the abortion doctor negotiates with the girls. (*spoiler alert*) His proposition is so unexpected, and it is genuinely creepy to see the doctor layout what he expects as payment in such a matter of fact way, as if he reached that conclusion by way of empirical deduction. (*end spoiler*)
All in all, this is not a movie I would watch again, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that fact. As a modern viewer, I believe in using the film medium for various purposes, much like books. We have text books we're made to read for the sole purpose of gathering knowledge from them. We may not ever crack them open again once we're out of school, but we still learned from them, and they lived out their purpose of educating us. This movie, while not quite a documentary, is also far from being pure entertainment. While I won't ever watch it again, it was still a damn good way to spend 2 hours, and certainly enlightening in many ways. Who can ask for anything more?