Beyond The Hills

2013

Beyond The Hills

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.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 105

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,138
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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 priest. She is taken to hospital and the people of the monastery start to suspect that she is possessed. When the doctors send her back, Alina is included in the monastic routine in the hope that she will find peace. But her condition worsens and they finally have to tie her to a wooden plank to prevent her from hurting herself. After ruling out all other options, the priest and nuns decide to read her prayers to deliver those possessed by the Evil One. They perform an exorcism, but the result is not what they had hoped, and Voichita begins to doubt the religious choice she has made. She decides to free Alina - but her decision comes too late. Inspired by the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran.

Cast

Valeriu Andriuta
as The Priest
Catalina Harabagiu
as Nun Antonia
Gina Tandura
as Nun Iustina
Vica Agache
as Sister Elisabeta
Dana Tapalaga
as Mother Superior
Nora Covali
as Nun Pahomia
Dionisie Vitcu
as Mr. Valerica
Liliana Mocanu
as Mother Elena
Doru Ana
as Father Nusu
Costache Babii
as Doctor Solovastru
Luminita Gheorghiu
as Schoolteacher
Alina Berzunteanu
as Doctor Radu
Teo Corban
as Police Inspector
Calin Chirila
as Policeman
Tania Popa
as Female Parishioner
Radu Zetu
as Lieutenant
Ion Sapdaru
as Captain
Diana Ignat
as Secretary
Liana Petrescu
as Sister Arcadia
Alexandra Agavriloaiei
as Sister Eudoxia
Alexandra Apetrei
as Sister Tatiana
Noemi Gunea
as Sister Lavrentia
Katia Pascariu
as Nun Sevastiana
Mara Carutasu
as Sister Anastasia
Cerasela Iosifescu
as Doctor D.L.
Ada Barleanu
as Nurse Gina
Mariana Liurca
as Nurse Sandra
Gheorghe Ifrim
as Ambulance Assistant
Adrian Ancuta
as Man in the Car
View All

News & Interviews for Beyond The Hills

Critic Reviews for Beyond The Hills

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (95) | Rotten (10)

  • [Mungiu's] very specific brand of formalism traps the characters in a theological prison of their own design, and the results are as fascinating to watch as they are painful.

    August 6, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The fact that Mungiu pulls this off so naturally is what makes Beyond the Hills a near-masterpiece.

    June 29, 2019 | Rating: 8.1/10 | Full Review…
  • Mungiu's Beyond the Hills delicately explores a highly controversial, contemporary subject with the care and intelligence that it necessitates.

    February 13, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Daniel Green

    CineVue
    Top Critic
  • The film's greatest strength is its constant insistence on ambiguity. Almost nothing is explicit and as a result, everything the viewer thinks, feels and judges is based on inference, allusion and their own prejudices and convictions.

    January 30, 2019 | Full Review…

    Tara Judah

    Overland
    Top Critic
  • Another bravura exercise from Mungiu in painstaking, atmospheric filmmaking. In fact, it's almost like a silent movie with its thematic simplicity and painterly classicism.

    January 27, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Director Cristian Mungiu has practically single-handedly put modern Romanian cinema on the map.

    December 14, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Beyond The Hills

  • Apr 15, 2014
    <b>WARNING: THIS IS A CHRISTIAN'S REVIEW. No religious debate or disrespectful remark, however, is intended, and all statements have the intention of circling around the film.</b> The most admirable feature about Cristian Mungiu's comeback is that it utilizes two young female lovers to construct a character study that slowly escalates into a complete slap to the face of the Orthodox Church and its resulting completely anti-Biblical religious fanaticism, therefore justifying its running time immediately. With a cinematography, a camera command and snowy landscapes gorgeously conquered like any legendary European auteur would know how to control, <i>Beyond the Hills</i> bases its story in a series of non-fiction novels written by Romanian writer and former senior editor of the Bucharest Romanian Bureau of the BBC WS, Tatiana Niculescu Bran. The story takes us to the entrails of a patriarchal and authoritarian monastery to set up the fanatically religious environment that will put a friendship - and the existence of the monastery itself - to the test. Mungiu is careful enough not to present an idealistic side or to take a side; it presents facts with a neutral perspective. That is not the easy route. Still, the film was almost forced to deliver a message, or to have something that made the time investment worthwhile. He therefore decided to translate his engrossing signature filming style to this isolated setting and let the events unfold, and the truths to rise to the surface by themselves with each new situation. What results is a testament that does not necessarily condemn the beliefs of people, but those actions that hurt the human condition and act against human dignity regardless of their "divine" excuses. To those people defending the side of the Priest, I invite them to reconsider. This is most probably a film meant to be a wake-up call for the Orthodoxism in Romania and for those countries that share similar traits with Romania as a religious nation, since, statistically, in average, <a href = "http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23420668">the Romanian society praises more Orthodoxism than it praises education and healthcare</a>. Therefore, it is rather safe to assume that some people would trust more the diagnosis of a priest than that of medical science. The final outcome in the film was not a result of a lack of means of the monastery or ignorance; they knew what they were doing: physical, psychological and even spiritual torture, all in the name of their own (false) perception of God. <i>"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."</i> - Ephesians 2: 8-9 Yet, the life of the monastery consists in anti-Biblical rituals and prayers, imagery and idolatry which the same Bible condemns. As a final remark, Alina was probably looking for an answer to the tragic outcomes of her life. That is why she never entirely renounced the possibility of a God. Unfortunately, she fell into the wrong hands: a place where God's doctrine is not faithfully followed. Therefore, her perception about God was greatly affected by people that claimed to follow God, but did actions that do not correlate with His Word. She discovered the lies of the Priest and how the monastery purposely excluded people out of the monastery and of God's mercy simply because they were non-believers, and tried to challenge such regime with her own sense of justice. What a tragedy that she had to pay the bill of her actions by herself, not even having a family to support her! All of this happened despite that: <i>"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that <b>all</b> should come to repentance."</i> - 2 Peter 3:9 <i>"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."</i> - John 3:16 And just like the police says 15 minutes before the film ends: "And this is the end of my job", the film closes with exactly the same remark: "I have presented you with the facts, and leave the consequences to your judgment; my work is done", leaving us as passengers with the characters inside the police van, heading towards an uncertain, yet very expected tragic outcome. God's justice is the one executed at the end. 82/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2013
    'Beyond the Hills'. Incited way too much frustration with its whiny protagonist that overshadowed anything it was saying about love.
    c0up   Super Reviewer
  • Mar 27, 2013
    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 R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2013
    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 M Super Reviewer

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