Metascore
97

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    You just don't expect Hollywood to produce a masterwork so early in the new year. And it hasn't. This slice of celluloid dynamite comes from Romania, and what you see will floor you.
  2. 100
    This is a powerful film and a stark visual accomplishment, but no thanks to Gabita (Laura Vasiliu). The driving character is her roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), who does all the heavy lifting.
  3. The result is a mixture of unified atmosphere and lived-in character study, and while Vasiliu’s role is not as indelible as that of her co-stars, Marinca’s Otilia and Ivanov’s steely abortionist are just about perfect.
  4. 100
    Brilliant, suspenseful, absolutely riveting film.
  5. This year’s foreign language Oscar scandal – there is always at least one – is the snub of director Cristian Mungiu’s disturbing, masterful realist drama following two college roommates as they carry out plans for one’s black market abortion in Communist Romania.
  6. First, this movie should be enjoyed. Later, marveled at. And then, once the excitement has faded, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days really should be studied, because director Cristian Mungiu creates scenes unlike any ever filmed.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    The film is bold stroke that hopes to push Romanian society forward by staring into the dismal failures of its recent past.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    Writer-director Cristian Mungiu confirms the Romanian cinema renaissance while creating a paradoxical marvel: a bleak tale of illegal abortion that powerfully affirms one's faith in people.
  9. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    A remarkably engrossing and thoughtful picture, beautifully rendered in an artful mode of realism.
  10. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    100
    Tense, kinetic, intelligent and real – as if Paul Greengrass had remade Vera Drake.
  11. A grueling and deeply affecting human drama.
  12. Nothing good happens in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the riveting, horrifying chronicle of an illegal abortion performed in 1987 when Ceauescu's dictatorial hand still gripped Romania's throat. And yet no lover of greatness in filmmaking will want to look away from one of the very best movies of 2007.
  13. 100
    Without a single gunshot (and just one flick of a switchblade), it turns into an existential suspense film with the highest stakes imaginable: the survival of the human spirit.
  14. 100
    Despite their terrible ordeal these women are heroes, not victims. As Mungiu makes clear in the casual, brilliant final scene of this amazing movie, heroes persevere.
  15. 100
    Though the frighteningly late-term abortion at its center hints at larger sins in the last gasp of Nicolae Ceausescu’s iron-fisted regime, it’s no metaphor, but a sordidly visceral transaction conducted in the next best thing to a back alley.
  16. 100
    Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly discomfiting second feature is one long premonition of disaster.
  17. 100
    This is a film with a commitment to reality unlike any we're used to seeing.
  18. It’s a pitiless, violent story that in its telling becomes a haunting and haunted intellectual and aesthetic achievement.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    One of the strongest movies in recent years.
  20. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    100
    Pitch perfect and brilliantly acted, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is a stunning achievement, helmed with a purity and honesty that captures not just the illegal abortion story at its core but the constant, unremarked negotiations necessary for survival in the final days of the Soviet bloc.
  21. Elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted film.
  22. 100
    In a truly great movie the form becomes indistinguishable from the story, and that’s certainly the case here.
  23. 100
    4 Months unfolds like one of those street-level Dardenne brothers movies (Rosetta, L'Enfant).
  24. The New Wave of Romanian cinema is the most exciting in the world right now. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is its latest masterpiece.
  25. The coup de grâce is especially graceless because everything we know is already visible in Marinca’s eyes. The actress is extraordinary.
  26. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    90
    A beautiful and formally compelling work of art.
  27. 90
    Anamaria Marinca delivers an utterly transfixing performance as Otilia, a young woman who helps a friend (Laura Vasiliu) obtain an illegal abortion in the waning days of Romania's communist Ceausescu regime.
  28. 88
    It is filmmaking as it should be but usually isn't.
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Depressing and gut-wrenching, but always powerful and gripping.
  30. 88
    Despite being slow and deliberate, it is often compelling and occasionally riveting. As "The Lives of Others" was in 2007, this is the first memorable movie of 2008.
  31. Relentlessly dark but expertly rendered, it shares its cinematographer and quality of aggrieved compassion with another recent Romanian art house hit, "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu."
  32. 83
    A grueling film in both technique and subject matter.
  33. The film is dark, gloomy and without music, but it is also observant and highly suspenseful, with Mungiu using his often static camera to balance banal cruelty with simple generosity.
  34. 80
    This is a tale of friendship, corruption, betrayal and desperation masterfully told without an ounce of filmmaking flash and with an unflinching commitment to realism.
  35. 80
    Mungiu’s pacing is so sure, however, in its switching from loose to taut, and the concentration of his leading lady so unwavering, that the movie, which won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, feels more like a thriller than a moody wallow.
  36. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    78
    A curious filmgoing experience: Virtuosic, assured, and possessed of undeniable aesthetic force, it’s also hard not to turn away from.
  37. It makes "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" and "12:08 East of Bucharest," the last glum Romanian movies about life under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, seem merry.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 215 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 80
  2. Negative: 10 out of 80
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    The neorealism and morbidity of of the subject might shy away some viewers, but everything about this movie is handled with such delicate care - the acting, the cinematography, the absence of a film score - that it really does suck you into it's existence, forcing you to feel the hardships of living in a state of oppression. Moral of the Story: don't live in a place where abortions are illegal. Full Review »
  2. Sep 28, 2012
    1
    Watch this movie for the perfect example of how to trick everybody into thinking your movie is good, without actually having to create an intelligent story. Just make it about a controversial issue, have a shocking proposal from a doctor to two women halfway through, and show a human fetus to freak people out. Then everyone is so blown away that they're convinced it's because of the merits of the film. I wouldn't really call this a pro abortion movie. In fact, the fetus scene is like the videos of slaughterhouses they make to convince people to become vegetarians. Regardless of the stance it takes, it doesn't really go about it in a thought provoking way. The one thing I did appreciate was the idea that the one girl was willing to accept the doctor's offer for her friend. It was an interesting statement about friendships, although it's possible that that just happened by accident, and that the writer wasn't really even thinking of that. I will not reveal my opinion on abortion, but I don't think it matters. A weak script is a weak script. The movie is all about shock value, and people mistake that for decent writing. Full Review »
  3. BillB.
    Aug 20, 2008
    2
    You keep expecting something to happen, but nothing Happens in this movie. The doctor makes an unusual request half way through the movie, and that is all. Full Review »