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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days can be found here.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is based on a screenplay written by Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, who also produced and directed the movie. Mungiu based his screenplay on a story he had heard that took place 20 years earlier when Romania was still under the Communist regime.
That is how far Gabriela "Gabita" Dragut (Laura Vasiliu)'s pregnancy has progressed before she is able to secure an abortion, something strictly illegal during the years of the Ceausescu regime in Romania.
The year is 1987, close to the end of Ceausescu's reign.
Nicolae Ceausescu [1918-1989] was the dictator President of Romania from 1965 to 1989. The end of his regime was marked by rampant shortages of food and goods for the Romanian peoples, causing widespread hunger, desperation, and rebellion. Some say that Ceausescu was senile at the time. In December of 1989, Ceausescu's regime was overthrown. He was subsequently executed.
The audio is Romanian. English subtitles are available.
When Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) shows up at the hotel Unitea where Gabita is supposed to meet Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) the abortionist, the reservation clerk claims that there is no reservation for them nor is there any record of Gabi having called to make a reservation. Viewers have suggested a few possibilities. One is that Gabita lied about making the reservation, just as she lied about how many months she was pregnant. Another possibility is that the hotel simply lost the reservation due to the hassle and bureaucracy Romanians had to deal with daily in that society. A third possibility is that, because Gabi didn't confirm the reservation 24 hours in advance, the room was rented to someone else. There's also the possibility that a better offer had come along for the room and Gabita, who admits she's hopeless at bribing, didn't know enough to show up in person to make the reservation and put forth a little cash to stake their claim. Finally, it's been suggested that Bebe knew that both of his hotels of choice were booked solid and that the girls would have to get rooms in a third hotel, which would allow him to prey on their desperation.
Gabi kept vacillating between saying she was two, three, or four months pregnant as well as the date of her last period. She knew that she was already into her fourth month, which is why, as she later tells Otilia, she chose Bebe to do the abortion. Many abortionists dislike performing abortions after the third month because a more dangerous procedure is required. This FAQ page is not the place to talk about abortion techniques, other than to say that abortions in the first trimester (1-3 months) are typically done with a D&C, while abortions in the second trimester (4-6 months) use a technique whereby they inject saline into the amniotic sac, causing the fetus to abort spontaneously several hours later. It was this second procedure that Bebe used on Gabi.
She was snooping in Bebe's bag while he was washing up in the bathroom. After looking at a few of the instruments, she picks up a pocketknife and opens it. Suddenly, Bebe starts to come out of the bathroom, and she can't get the knife closed and put it back in the bag in time, so she palms it. Some reasons, other than not getting caught, that viewers have offered include her fear that Bebe might use it on Gabi or that she might need it for her own protection, should Bebe decide to do something else to them even worse than raping them.
The simplest answer is that he forgot. Another possibility is that it was a fake ID, so he didn't care, although he uses this fact as a way to browbeat Gabi and Otilia into believing that he was endangering himself on their account.
In at least two scenes, Otilia appears to have a nosebleed, one at the beginning of the movie and another when she is riding on the bus. No explanation is given, but some viewers have pointed out that nosebleeds are common in pregnancy, as is nausea (Otilia vomiting in the street). Nosebleeds and nausea may be an early indication that Otilia herself is pregnant and doesn't know it yet.
While Otilia is enduring the birthday party at her boyfriend's house, Gabi aborts. Otilia keeps trying to reach Gabi on the telephone, but she won't answer. Fearing that something has gone wrong, Otilia leaves the party and goes back to the hotel. She finds Gabi asleep and the fetus lying on the bathroom floor. Otilia wraps the fetus in a towel, put it in her handbag, and goes out into the night looking for a place to dispose of it. At one point, she finds a dumpster and is about to put the fetus in it but, just as she's about to open the lid, a dog starts barking viciously and she spooks. Finally, she finds a several-story building, goes up the stairs, and dumps it down the garbage chute, just like the abortionist told her to do. Back to the hotel she goes, where she finds a wedding reception going on. When Gabi doesn't open the door to their hotel room, Otilia goes back down to the lobby where the desk clerk tells her that Gabi is in the restaurant. Otilia joins Gabi at her table. Gabi asks if Otilia buried the fetus, but Otilia says only, "We will never talk about this again." The two women then begin to read their menus.
According to the waiter, they were serving beef, pork fillet, liver, breaded brains, and marrow.
Compare the two fish in the goldfish bowl that has a picture of a city skyline pasted on the back of the glass with the final scene in the movie where Otilia and Gabi are seated in the restaurant, while the wedding is taking place in the window behind them. The similarity is too striking to be missed. Goldfish trapped in their tiny world.
Yes. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days inspired reforms in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) because the notoriously flawed selection process for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category was intensely scrutinized and ridiculed by the international film community after Cristian Mungiu's acclaimed film, which was widely regarded as the frontrunner, was not included among the nine films of the shortlist, published on January 15, 2008. The winner of the 80th Academy Award for 'Best Foreign Language Film' was Austria's Die Fälscher (2007), which was criticized by many observers as a conventional and inferior motion picture compared to the Romanian Palme d'Or winner. Scott Foundas wrote in Variety about "the scandal" and the resulting rule change [Nov. 13, 2013]:
In the Great Romanian Oscar Standoff of 2008, when Cristian Mungiu's Palme dOr-winning abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), having been selected by Romania as its official Oscar entry, failed to secure a spot on the 'shortlist' of 9 Foreign Language finalists determined by the Academy's Phase I nominating committee. That was, metaphorically speaking, the straw that broke Mark Johnson's back, prompting the longtime committee chair (12 of the past 13 years) to institute sweeping reforms to the nominating process. Already at the time of the 4 Months... scandal, Johnson had instituted a blue-ribbon Phase II committee of hand-picked Academy members to whittle the Phase I panels shortlist down to the final five nominees a riposte to the frequent accusation that the all-volunteer Phase I committee was unfavorably disposed to more challenging, thought-provoking art films. To overcome it, committee chair Mark Johnson implemented another oversight panel at the Phase I stage, charged with selecting three of the nine shortlist films, with the larger group still responsible for the remaining six. And in the four years since, this system has unquestionably produced a more varied and vital slate of nominees, including such films as Belgium's Rundskop (2011), Greece's Kynodontas (2009) and Peru's La teta asustada (2009) that almost certainly wouldn't have made it to the shortlist under the old rules.
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