Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.
Romania, 1987, the brutal Ceausescu communist regime is in place; birth control is illegal and abortion is a crime punishable by death. Gabita (Laura Vasliu) is almost five months into an unwanted pregnancy and in meek desperation turns to her friend and roommate, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) for help in organizing an illegal termination. Unfortunate circumstances force the two women to use an unwanted male abortionist, Bebe (Vlad Ivanov). The bleakness of the storyline expresses a dark socio-political critique in the twilight years of a repressive dictatorship.Written by
Otilia's recurring nosebleeds and sudden vomiting scenes are never explained in the film. However, as these are all early symptoms of a first trimester pregnancy, it heavily implies that Otilia herself is pregnant but is unaware of it. See more »
Otilia asked to buy Orange Tic Tacs, but she receives red (cinnamon flavored) Tic Tacs. See more »
The story is a very simple one. It's 1987 in Romania and abortion is illegal. Pregnant student Gabita and her roommate Otilia check into a cheap hotel where a backstreet abortionist called Bebe is going to deal with Gabita's problem. Under Romanian law, the degree of illegality depends on how long Gabita has been pregnant: on this subject, as on most others, she is worryingly vague. Very cleverly, the writer makes Otilia, the more resourceful of the girls, the protagonist. Otilia needs all her courage to deal with the suspicious hotel staff, to meet Bebe's demands, to evade the police and jail. The obvious words to use are spare, direct, realistic. The suspense generated is astonishing. The question of whether abortion is right or wrong is irrelevant to the psychology of the film - all that matters is that it is dangerous. I have great sympathy for all those Romanians who have written comments on this site, complaining about the portrayal of their beloved country. However, I believe that this film reflects well on Romania today. It's certainly a much more sophisticated and honest film than Vera Drake, which was hideously sentimental.
74 of 101 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this