If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (2011)

If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Silviu has only two weeks left before his release from a hostile juvenile detention center. But when his mother, who abandoned him long ago, returns to take his younger brother away - a brother Silviu raised like a son those two weeks become an eternity. While his outcries for help fall on deaf ears, he finds himself mercilessly taunted and harassed by the other inmates. And just as Silviu's frustration evolves into full-throttled aggression, he is introduced to a beautiful social worker that he … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Florin Serban, Catalin Mitulescu
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 7, 2011
Box Office: $12.1k
Film Movement - Official Site


as Mother

as Director

as The Brother

as Psychologist

as Cantaretul
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

If 'The Death of Mr Lazarescu' and '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' represented the breakers of the so-called Romanian New Wave, this thinly competent entry is the backwash.

Full Review… | May 15, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

The seams of the narrative start to show, and by the end you are more aware of the filmmakers' ideas than of the character's life.

Full Review… | January 5, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

It's a measure of the movie's success that one oscillates between two despairs -- noting the abject failure of the system and the utter futility of revolt.

Full Review… | January 4, 2011
Village Voice
Top Critic

I was strongly impressed.

Full Review… | September 11, 2010
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

The tone, though not the style, brings to mind The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

Full Review… | May 20, 2012
Observer [UK]

Serban's film is as flawed as the bruised character at its centre, but almost as compelling too.

Full Review… | May 18, 2012
The List

Audience Reviews for If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

Pistereanu carries this drama with a surprising talent and intensity, but after two careful first acts with long scenes showing the character's life inside the prison through a realistic, almost documentary-like approach, the film reaches a disappointing conflict that is hard to buy.

Carlos Magalhćes

Super Reviewer


With Silviu(George Pistereanu) only having 15 days left on a four year sentence at a juvenile detention center, his younger brother Marius comes to visit, informing him that their mother(Clara Voda) is going to take him to Italy with her. Isn't that great? Upset, Silviu wants to get a closer look at who is with him but has the snot beaten out of him by a guard when he gets too close to the fence. Luckily, the warden(Mihai Constantin) says this will not affect his release which is brightened considerably when Ana(Ada Condeescu) comes to interview him. In return, he flirts with her.

What "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle" wants to aim for is a feeling of slow burn and dread in its first half. Rather, like every almost every other Romanian movie I have seen lately, it is full of long, pointless scenes that go nowhere, thus ruining the mood.(Seriously, can't anybody in the country edit?) So, it is not really clear what the movie is trying to say. Since it is not apparent that the mother is either abusive or toxic, maybe Silviu will just have to get over himself before he starts a new life on the outside.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


I viewed this at the 2011 Cleveland International Film Festival. Character driven drama about a young man (Pistereanu) in a desperate situation. With a slow deliberate pace we see that he is coping well with life in a detention center, but for ambiguous reasons his mother makes him lose his focus on good behavior and he starts acting out for special privileges. Strangely he creates a hostage situation with the girl student he has developed a crush upon. Is it an East European art film breaking the cliches of Hollywood fare? Or is it a puzzling tale with vague motivations and something lost in translation?

Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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