A 2021 Film Journey: Day 17

I always forget how much work getting my year end list out is. My goal was to have it out on Friday, and yet it’s still not out today, but I did make solid progress today. The progress did come at the expense of watching more movies with my day off, so only one entry today.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Dir. Cristian Mungiu)

Members' Screening: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days | Institute of Contemporary  Arts

Another reason that I didn’t watch a second film today was that this one was a brutal watch. I frequently watch dark films by career provocateurs, but this was the first time in a long time that a film has given me a panic attack. I’m extremely torn on this film. The film is technically amazing; shots are perfectly composed to evoke significant emotion as appropriate. The performances by the two leads Anamaria Marinca as Otilia and Laura Vasiliu as Găbița are wonderful. Their performances play off of each other well in the dark drama that often borders on thriller. Almost everything stands out to make this film seem perfect on paper, but through everything I couldn’t help but be constantly reminded that the writer/director Cristian Mungiu is a cis man telling an extremely personal and brutal woman’s story.

Content warning from here on out.

If a cis man wants to tell an abortion story, someone should immediately ask him, why you? And if that cis man then wants the abortion to be paid for by the sexual assault of the woman’s friend you should tell him to get the fuck out. I don’t know what Romania was like in 1987. This may be a completely realistic story to tell, but that still doesn’t mean he should have told it. The reason that most abortion stories involve a supportive friend, is because the comradery and support are important in normalizing abortions. Even if the rest of the world is antagonist to abortion, as long as the girl or woman has her friend along to hold her hand everything will be okay. Instead of doing that Mungiu punishes Otilia for supporting Găbița to the point that Otilia resents her friend. This decision leaves the film which many have lauded as a pro-choice film feeling nothing of the sort. The constant punishment makes 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days feel anti-choice and anti-woman. I said at the top of this review that I was torn on the movie, but the more that I think of it, I don’t feel torn at all. I hate this movie.

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