The best foreign film of last year

Last year, while American filmgoers cooed over two charming comedies about the hilarious consequences of unwanted pregnancies, the Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu delivered his own take on the subject: a decidedly darker look at the true costs of accidental parenthood.

The year is 1987, when Romania is still under the nightmarish police-state rule of Ceausescu and abortions are highly illegal. Nonetheless, college student Otillia (played by Anamaria Marinca) agrees to accompany her pregnant roommate, Gabita, to a man who will terminate her pregnancy. It’s a bleakly comic — but mostly bleak — journey that takes Otillia across a Bucharest ravaged by Communism, leading her to an utterly devastating decision about how far she’ll go to help a friend. Whatever your opinions about abortion, by the end of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, you’ll be grateful you live in a country where we can make such frothy movies (like Knocked Up and Juno) about such a serious subject.

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