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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

3.8 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Two College Roommates have 24 hours to make the ultimate choice as they finalize arrangements to meet a black market doctor for an illegal abortion. What follows is their harrowing descent into a world in where danger, darkness and tragedy lurk around every corner.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, Alexandru Potocean, Ion Sapdaru
  • Directors: Cristian Mungiu
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Romanian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: IFC Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00151QYE4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,940 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" on IMDb

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I think there are some facts that people not familiar with Romanian history need to know in order to better understand the movie. Since the Ceausescu's goal was to increase the population, not only the abortion was illegal but the contraception was also non-existent. Young people were also not educated in family planning at all. Occasionally one could buy contraceptive pills from dubious sources on the black market, but overall, besides using the calendar method (highly unreliable for many women), the abortion was the immediate mean to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
The movie is excellent and there is no need for spoilers however, since people will react accordingly depending on their stance toward abortion, I think it is important to mention that abortion was not illegal on moral grounds. It was a state policy to increase the population which made contraception and family planning education also illegal or at least non-existent.
Ironically, statistics showed that the population did not increase nowhere near close to what was expected.
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Some films are able to dazzle you without the use of special effects, big Hollywood stars and nudity. They manage to crawl under your skin and get inside you. They leave an indeliable mark on you. Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile)" is such a film. And easily one of the best films of 2007!

Whatever the reason, currently Romanian is a hot property. People and critics are just buzzing with excitement about what is going on in Romanian cinema. And even though I'm not Romanian (I'm Hungarian) I'm pretty excited about it too.

In 2006 there was the release of "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu", besides "4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile", also released in 2007 was "12:08 East of Bucharest". These three films seem to be part of a new wave in Romanian film. Each takes on modern day society while questioning the past. All three are confrontational.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" takes place during a 24 hour period in which a young girl, Gabita Dragut (Laura Vasiliu) seeks an abortion in Ceausescu's Romania. At the time such acts were against the law. She needs the help of her roommate, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) to sort out the details and supply some support, since the father of the child is not only never seen but never spoken of either.

The two girls get in contact with Bebe (Vlad Ivanou) through a mutual friend. Bebe is the only person who will perform an abortion after the 4th month, this is how the film gets its title. That is how long Gabita has been pregnant. Bebe though does not seem like a trust worthy kind of guy. He has something up his sleeve. But he will not be the end of their problems.

The film sets itself up as a thriller and believe it or not, it is suspenseful.
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What if it was true?

Almost no one would answer the question on what would happen if abortions WERE outlawed by the State. Would we jail the women? Kill the abortionists? It's out of the question in a civilized nation. Right? Well... not exactly. Communist Romania did outlaw abortion during the 70's and 80's. The reasons were not exactly humanitarian but the end result was that early abortions were punished with a few years in prison and late term abortions, past the 4th month were treated as murders. This is the telling of a (possibly true) story from those years. It's an illustration of what we here, in the States, like to call a `back alley abortion'. The back alley, in this case, is a hotel room, a rather decent one.

The visual environment and the way characters interact are consistent with Romania's impoverished status back in 1987 - there's little color, little hope, few lights at night, little joy. The few extras we see are shown as small, disoriented, defeated people performing absurd or incomprehensible (to us) activities such as wandering aimlessly in the night, lining up in queues or risking whatever was left of their freedom for some meager black market profits. Everyone seems to be indifferent, corruptible, bored, boring, alone, lonely but surprisingly well-mannered, given the circumstances. Had this been a Hollywood production, we might have ended up watching a zombie or a body-snatcher type of a movie but this one was made in East Europe and the Hollywood advisers didn't bother to offer their precious advice so what we see are the memories of a reality not completely dead.

Gabriela (Gabi) is a senior student who shares a dorm room and has a good friend in Otilia.
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This movie is a haunting and harrowing tale set in Ceaucescu's Romania. centered on a pair of college dorm mates, Gabita and Otilia, who we encounter on the day Gabita, with Otilia's help, seeks to terminate her unwanted pregnancy.

This is a bleak and disturbing film tackling a very emotional subject. Cristian Mungiu has delivered a masterpiece, a film so powerful it will leave scars with the viewer long after watching it. The material is raw, filmed beautifully to capture the raw feelings and emotions of the characters, the ugly and drab feel of a communist country and the ever present authoritarian hand of the state. Some of the scenes are unnerving, especially the hotel scene when Gabita and Otilia are "negotiating" with the man who will perform the abortion. In any society, the choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is not one that is positive or cause for happiness. The reality of facing this reality in the society that Mungiu brings to life is even more dispiriting. There are no good choices for Gabita and Otilia and one cannot begin to imagine the mental wounds that they will be left with for the rest of their lives.

The craftmanship of this film is most evident during two parts of the film. The first is when Otilia is visiting her boyfriend Adi's parents apartment to celebrate his mother's birthday. The scenes in the apartment are stunning in how they are shot, especially the bulk of the dining room scene -- shot from one angle, the expressiveness of Otilia, her anguish at having to put up with this family, their celebration and them and their friends sarcastic denigration of her is about as good as movies get.
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