The sounds. It was the sounds that got me. The silence of snow falling outside a window, newborn kittens crying, a receptionist coughing, clothes wrinkling as people move about a small room, the cold knock of medical tools rubbing against each other in a leather bag. And all that heightens the fairly simple one-two of the actual performance of an abortion. Because Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" is one of those ingenious fill-in-the-blanks cases of show-don't-tell, and it'll leave you either incredibly frustrated or profoundly touched by its handling of the complicated emotions of indifference. Nearing the end of communist Romania, Gabita (a gentle, innocent-to-the-point-of-being-helpless, and all the more amazing for it Laura Vasiliu) seeks with the help of her roommate Otilia (an equally striking Anamaria Marinca) a back-alley abortion after the title amount of time to think over a decision. No more tears.
It seems to affect Otilia more, the haggling of finding a person willing to risk jail time for what's considered to be murder (even to the point of doling out sexual favors), the aftermath of cleaning up the mess, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Mungiu is generous in his long and tracking shots, so not only do we feel like we're THERE, we feel the length, the distorted sense of reality, even -- in a dinner scene involving the friends of Otilia's boyfriend's (Alexandru Potocean) parents -- the anger that the scene doesn't cut off, that someone doesn't stand up and scream or cry, even walk away, because it's only ourselves we're fooling. Yeah. Speechless is right. "4 Months" is a tough movie to watch, even more so to stop thinking about, and that's exactly the point; it isn't made fine. It draws blood if you get too close, but that's the only way to even begin to comprehend its marvelously transfixing spell.