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Beyond The Hills (2013)

Beyond The Hills


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

Critics Consensus: 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.

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

Critics Consensus: 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.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,915


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 … More

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Tatiana Niculescu Bran , Cristian Mungiu
In Theaters:
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Beyond The Hills

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.

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
Boston Globe
Top 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.

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 29, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 28, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A subtle, heartbreaking film that rewards the patient viewer.

Full Review… | June 27, 2014
Windy City Times

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

Full Review… | February 20, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

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

Full Review… | February 4, 2014
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.

Full Review… | November 25, 2013

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

Full Review… | August 11, 2013
The Sun Herald

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

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
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

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
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.

Full Review… | May 31, 2013

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

Full Review… | May 13, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

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

Full Review… | April 30, 2013
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Strikingly shot and punishingly long ...

Full Review… | April 26, 2013
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.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
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.

Full Review… | April 9, 2013

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

Full Review… | April 5, 2013
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

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
Film Freak Central

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

Full Review… | April 4, 2013
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.

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.

Louis Rogers
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.

Carlos Magalh„es

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.

The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

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