Child's Pose


Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 21, 2014
    A lousy title for a marvelous movie.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 20, 2014
    A ferocious psychological drama with the pace of a thriller, Child's Pose combines, as have the best of the Romanian new-wave films, a compelling personal story about mothers and sons with an examination of socio-political dynamics in a way that is both intense and piercingly real.
  3. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Mar 13, 2014
    A compelling, complex, confounding film.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Mar 6, 2014
    Of all the great monster mothers in cinema history, Cornelia Keneres (Luminita Gheorghiu, who sets the standard other performances should be judged by this year) ranks high on the list.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Feb 21, 2014
    It's an extremely strong and upsetting film, yet another example of the fascinating things going on in Romania's new wave, with a breathtaking lead performance by Luminita Gheorghiu as Cornelia.
  6. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Apr 16, 2014
    Throw in an unbearably gloomy plot involving overbearing or grieving parents and a pointed commentary on the corrupt, classist nature of modern Romania, and you're in for a downbeat evening. "The Lego Movie," this isn't.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 15, 2014
    It’s well worth seeing, both for its merciless anatomization of the country’s post-Ceausescu social order and for Gheorghiu’s stupendous central performance as a mother so monstrous she makes Medea look like a pushover.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 3, 2014
    A Romanian political allegory — in Romanian — might sound like tough sledding, but thanks to a searing performance by Luminita Gheorghiu, Child's Pose is anything but.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 20, 2014
    Growth is the film's subtext, and finally its subject. Never has a line of dialogue been more freighted with symbolism, or more grounded in literal reality, than when Barbu says, ever so quietly, "Mother, please unlock me."
  10. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 20, 2014
    The movie creates its own tightening vice grip.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 20, 2014
    A gripping psychological thriller built around the luminous and terrifying performance of Luminita Gheorghiu, who is something like the Meryl Streep of Romania.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Feb 18, 2014
    With Child's Pose, the Romanian tide enters its Cassavetes phase, where the thin ice of haute bourgeoisie life cracks and opens wide.
  13. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Feb 18, 2014
    A complex final scene — in which everyone finally lets the tears flow — only deepens the sense that well-meaning mother love can be as poisonous as it is nourishing.
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 3, 2013
    Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose is a gripping new drama from Romania and another demonstration of how that country's new wave is developing a distinctive kind of real-time slice-of-life cinema with characterisation in extreme, pitiless closeup.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Feb 19, 2014
    As subtle and careful and slyly disturbing as Child’s Pose is though, it and many others of its genus suffer from an airlessness, pacing like the growth of algae, a dishwater color palate and a dirge-like monotone.
  16. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Jul 9, 2013
    The last quarter of Child's Pose is so remarkably strong that it makes a sometimes grim journey worth sticking with to its destination.
  17. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 19, 2014
    Through it all, Gheorghiu finds the perfect pitch between a mother’s love for her child and a kind of pathology.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Feb 19, 2014
    Sporting a blonde dye job and a haughty, impervious manner, Gheorghiu makes Cornelia a consistently compelling figure, at once monstrous and pathetic.
  19. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Feb 21, 2014
    Like the (far superior) recent Russian film "Elena," Child's Pose paints a compelling portrait of post-Soviet capitalism in all its uncorked appetites, its brash cronyism and graft, its pretensions, its clueless philistinism.
  20. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Feb 17, 2014
    The film thrives on ambiguity, keeping all things blurry outside its main character's focused perspective, its myopia sustained by Luminița Gheorghiu's tough, quietly intense performance.
  21. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 18, 2014
    It’s too bad that the filmmakers don’t allow an occasional breath of air into the sepulchral proceedings or ease up on the increasingly heavy-handed lessons.
  22. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Nov 3, 2013
    The restlessness of the camerawork may drive you to distraction, but director/co-writer Calin Peter Netzer’s film is held steady by Gheorghiu’s staunch performance.
  23. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Oct 29, 2013
    Child’s Pose plays its thematic cards far too early, but it’s sustained by Gheorghiu’s compelling central turn as the endlessly self-deluding grande dame.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 12, 2014
    It's an emotionally complex and mature film, that's for certain. The film juggles thorny themes relating to death, guilt, responsibility, andIt's an emotionally complex and mature film, that's for certain. The film juggles thorny themes relating to death, guilt, responsibility, and desperation all while presenting it's characters, particularly the mother, as multi-dimensional people, at times behaving exceptionally selfish or cowardly in lieu of imposing moral circumstances that demand, rather, sacrifice and humility. These aren't necessarily bad people, though. They are exceptionally damaged individuals, mostly because of their relationships with each other. They behave in ways that are self-serving. The mother smothers her son and overlooks what is right in order to keep him in her life at any cost. The son behaves callously toward her attempts at connection and fails to confront his guilt or even acknowledge it, in spite of the horrid repercussions his behavior has on everyone involved. The climax is particularly emotionally scathing. The mother ceases to be a cold, in-control figure and completely disintegrates into desperation, a scene that reveals an unexpected vulnerability to her that is surprising when juxtaposed with the confidence she displays throughout the majority of the first hour. Child's Pose takes scenes of moral conflict like these and milks every bit of misanthropic commentary it can indirectly from the behavior of these characters, who are far from handling their situation gracefully. There is a revelation unearthed by the father of the dead child near the end of the film that strikes a deep chord. He acknowledges that it is both his fault as well as the man-child who killed his son and he is willing to rot in prison for his life in order to achieve 'a kind of justice'. Sobering stuff. From everyone involved, great performances grace the screen, particularly the mother, as we can all agree. Sometimes the abrasive, uncomfortable tone can be a bit overbearing, creating a dislikability that overwhelms the attempt at empathy Child's Pose strives for simultaneously. The emotional climax is undermined a bit, though the performances run full-steam-ahead sob-territory, because of the fact that we aren't necessarily in the corner of the mother and her son; in spite of the fact that we understand their motivations, we can't quite warm up to either due to some blatantly protruding character flaws. But when this film works in spite of it's heavier than necessary tone and likability issue, it is a rousing experience, and it stands as one of the most morally challenging films to come out this year. Full Review »
  2. Mar 1, 2014
    It is a story of a tyrannical, overbearing mother Cornelia whose nickname is Controllia.
    Her only son, while driving recklessly on a highway,
    It is a story of a tyrannical, overbearing mother Cornelia whose nickname is Controllia.
    Her only son, while driving recklessly on a highway, accidentally kills a teenager.
    Cornelia, not doubting that her son is guilty, uses her connections to meddle with police investigation to avoid her son's prosecution.
    Her motherly love turned her only son into a distorted, spoiled wreck of a human being who desperately tries to get out of his mother's iron grip.

    The movie is filmed with a hand-help camera which I found extremely annoying combined with necessity to read subtitles.

    The authors of this movie allow us a glimpse into the modern corrupt Romania, skewed morality of it's upper class. This film is definitely worth seeing.
    Full Review »