Set in 1987 Communist Romania, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a 2007 Romanian film that follows two college friends on their mission to carry out an illegal abortion. While the plot is fairly simple and straightforward, the movie is filmed in a way that you feel every emotion along with the two main characters. While Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) is the one receiving the actual abortion, her best friend Otilla (Anamaria Marinca) is the one we follow for most of the movie. Where Gabita can be described as naïve, Otilla is headstrong and willing to go through thick and thin for her friend. She displays the kind of friendship and loyalty that is hard to come by.
Love, loyalty, sacrifice, perseverance, and oppression are just a sample of the many themes that fill this narrative. These themes are also one of the reasons why this movie is usually the first title brought up in conversations about the recent Romanian New Wave movement. Few countries had a tougher 1980s than Romania, and out of that came a series of movies in the 2000s that praised simple filmmaking as a way for an artist to display their talent. 4 Months is riddled with long-takes, while sharing not a note of supporting music. It’s done with a technical precision that’s rarely seen, which explains why this movie received the top prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a movie that strips its subject matter down to the barest of bones, and by doing so, creates an atmosphere that takes you into each scene as if you are there. While the characters don’t go through anything too gruesome or disgusting, writer/director Cristian Mungiu still manages to make your stomach turn throughout the film. It makes you feel as if you want to look away. You can’t, however, because of the brilliant storytelling that is being told before you.