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Beyond The Hills

Beyond The Hills (2013)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 89
Fresh: 81 | Rotten: 8

Although some viewers may mistake its deliberate pace for passionless filmmaking, Beyond the Hills offers an intelligent, powerfully acted examination of the tension between secular life and religious faith.

85

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 5

Although some viewers may mistake its deliberate pace for passionless filmmaking, Beyond the Hills offers an intelligent, powerfully acted examination of the tension between secular life and religious faith.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,893

My Rating

Movie Info

In an isolated Orthodox convent in Romania, Alina has just been reunited with Voichita after spending several years in Germany. The two young women have supported and loved each other since meeting as children in an orphanage. Alina wants Voichita to leave and return with her to Germany, but Voichita has found refuge in faith and a family in the nuns and their priest, and refuses. Alina cannot understand her friend's choice. In her attempt to win back Voichita's affection, she challenges the

$0.1M

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All Critics (89) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (8)

The final shot, with windshield wipers struggling to clean away a torrent of muddy water, suggests that no human agency is great enough to handle this world's misery.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Beyond the Hills" seethes with astonishment and rage at a broken society marooned between the 21st century and the 16th.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a haunting movie, dealing with superstitions, possession, even exorcism, one in which Mungiu poses no easy answers, because there are none to be found.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an enigmatic and austere film from a region where political, sexual and religious repression are as stifling as the sooty air.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair.

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are no easy villains or heroes in this sad and slow but forcefully told tale, which exhibits the same humanity Mungiu brought to 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, his abortion drama that won the 2007 Palme d'Or.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A subtle, heartbreaking film that rewards the patient viewer.

June 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

Endlessly compelling and thought-provoking throughout its entire running time, even when it plunges the darkest, bleakest depths of human nature.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Mungiu seems to want more than just an allegory of self-incriminating religiosity.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Beyond The Hills is a frighteningly precise, gut-wrenching piece of cinema that shows a degree of formal assuredness that left me genuinely awestruck.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Mungiu has crafted an alarming and engaging real-life horror story, based on a 2005 case of exorcism.

August 11, 2013 Full Review Source: The Sun Herald
The Sun Herald

Mungiu immerses us in the time and place to prepare us for this extraordinary story

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

While it may be overlong at 150 minutes, Beyond The Hills is mesmerising cinema, made all the more watchable by the colour-stripped setting, creating an ambience in line with the essence of the t

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Like Cristian Mungiu's previous efforts, Beyond the Hills is an impressive piece of dramatic work that bravely addresses the bigger blank spots on the human canvas. And like his previous efforts, Beyond the Hills is practically impossible to recommend.

May 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

You'd swear Mungiu has inherited the spirit of Ingmar Bergman. All that's missing is the stark black-and-white photography.

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Beyond the Hills' undercurrents prove more interesting than its storyline or characters.

April 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Strikingly shot and punishingly long ...

April 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

(Writer-director Christian) Mungiu balances his film's more disturbing content with peaceful shots of the idyllic, surrounding countryside and of intimacy between the two women while slowly building to an inevitable conclusion.

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

When the ill and unstable Alina returns to the monastery, just so she can be with her beloved, Beyond the Hills becomes a species of those exorcism movies that audiences gorge on, only done with a realism and ambiguity usually missing from the genre.

April 9, 2013 Full Review Source: MetroActive
MetroActive

What makes this movie unique is that it holds literally everyone in the film accountable for the unfortunate goings on.

April 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Suburban Journals of St. Louis
Suburban Journals of St. Louis

It's an exorcism movie for everyone who thought, after Mungiu's gruelling abortion buddy-movie 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, that this guy should do an exorcism movie

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Mungui's rigorous approach to filmmaking isn't a ton of fun to watch, but his ideas stick with you.

April 4, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Beyond The Hills

'Beyond the Hills'. Incited way too much frustration with its whiny protagonist that overshadowed anything it was saying about love.
June 10, 2013
c0up
c0up  

Super Reviewer

The film meticulously, intelligently lays out all of the facts, relationships, and points of view of this strange modern horror story very democratically and compassionately. The result is brittle with realism: chilling, compelling (despite its at times desperately slow pace), and extremely thought provoking. It's incredibly well acted and filmed in solemn, carefully orchestrated one-shot scenes, but the result, despite utterly convincing intimacy and humanity, can seem almost too expositional, laying out the story's parts almost as if to a philosophical jury rather than a human viewer. The result was a film I admired more than I actually loved. Nonetheless, a unique and remarkable film, and one with undoubted power.
March 28, 2013
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

Mungiu delivers yet another powerful and nerve-wracking film that is bound to leave you totally drained by the end of it. Though also a bit unnecessarily repetitive after a while, it is nevertheless a challenging, devastating drama about liberty, devotion, security and obsession.
March 21, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Alina (Flutur) and Voichita (Stratan) are two young women who have been friends (and, it's implied, lovers) since their time growing up in one of Romania's notorious orphanages. Upon leaving the orphanage, Alina emigrates to Germany while Voichita joins a convent run by a priest (Andriuta), known to his followers as 'Daddy'. Finding their separation unbearable, Alina arrives at the convent, planning to take Voichita with her to work on a German cruise ship. Voichita resists, claiming God's love is now more important to her than Alina's. Believing her friend has been brainwashed by 'Daddy', Alina determines to disrupt life at the convent but, when she suffers some form of an attack, for which the local hospital can provide no explanation, the sisters at the convent begin to believe she is possessed by the devil.
Many critics have labelled Romanian director Mungiu's latest as a cheap shot at religion. Some have compared it to William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist'. I would have to disagree with both these conclusions. Far from attacking religion, Mungiu's film exposes the cruelties of an uncaring state which drives people to religion in search of comfort. The most sympathetic characters in the picture are the members of the convent. They may have a despicable worldview but it's one they genuinely believe in. It would have been easy to paint 'Daddy' as an evil Svengali figure but Mungiu resists the temptation for such a cliche. Despite Alina's suspicions, there's no evidence that the priest is taking advantage of the females in his care. In contrast, the secular authority figures are portrayed as cold and apathetic. When Alina is first brought to the hospital, the nurses moan that she would have been better taken care of at the convent. States who wish to take shortcuts love religious institutions as it means they can pass the weak and vulnerable of society in their direction. When my country, Ireland, won independence from Britain, the same thing happened. The government was broke but the church was loaded and so the task of running the country's education, health and care industries were passed to the church. The horror stories are still emerging to this day. We all know people who condemn the church yet are happy to avail of its services when they wish to hold a marriage or a funeral. These are the people Mungiu is attacking: the hypocrites who moan about religion but are happy to use it when it suits their needs.
The film is based on a real-life event, which makes comparisons to 'The Exorcist' ridiculous. It's clear that Alina is not suffering any form of possession. The hospital claims ignorance about her affliction because they simply want her off their hands. Due to their way of thinking, the members of the convent automatically see something they can't explain as the work of God or, in this case, the devil. If a comparison can be made to any successful mid-seventies film it's Milos Forman's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. Like Jack Nicholson's McMurphy in that film, Alina enters an institution with plans of disruption but quickly learns the hard way that the house always wins.
With stunning performances across its cast and brilliant direction from Mungiu, 'Beyond the Hills' is a must-see for believers and skeptics alike.
March 18, 2013
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Foreign Titles

  • Jenseits der Hügel (DE)
  • Beyond the Hills (UK)
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