This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Sally Jane Black’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
By chance, I am watching this on Mother's Day. I make no apologies.
This film contains three stunning moments of sacrifice (well, more, really, but three that stood out). The first is when Otilia sleeps with the abortionist for Gabita (who then also sleeps with him). It's a disgusting moment, as the man forces a woman in a moment of pure vulnerability to pleasure him, despite being entirely off-camera. It's the most gut-churning moment of the entire film. It's also the moment that makes it clear how the anti-abortion laws fully put women at the power of men, making it as sleazy and direct as possible.
The second moment is when Otilia goes to her boyfriend's house, despite her awful day (to understate the matter), and sits at the crowded dinner table while a group of doctors and her boyfriend's family talk around and over her. She suffers this strange, claustrophobic indignity as the camera sits at the other end of the table and shakes occasionally. It's jarringly bright, raucous, and rude, and the chaos can only reflect what must be going through Otilia's mind at the time. She's taken time out of her awful day to spend a little with her boyfriend, only to discover she's been misled (again).
The third is, of course, the infamous fetus disposal. While I found the sexual coercion much more disturbing, it has to be said that seeing that dead fetus lying bloody on the towels was a visceral moment, and the risks involved as Otilia disposes of it create a tension as she rushes through the city at night. All of this culminates in her final discussion with Gabita, when brings the film to a sudden halt. It's a thought-provoking end to a cold, depressing film that still manages to depict a human being with deeper compassion than those around her deserve--which is the mark of true compassion.
May count: 25/30. Country: Romania.
May rules: For my 30 countries, 30 days, I am instituting a few rules of my own. I have been watching more than 30 movies a month for a while now, so this will probably be more like 30 countries, 15 days. I have no particular goal there. Because Netflix is erratic with what it sends me, I may end up watching movies I did not intend to watch this month. If they are from a country I haven't yet seen a film from, I will count them. If they are a duplicate, they simply will not be counted. I am not counting any American pictures, because I'm with the Clash on the USA. For films that are a co-production between countries, the country is whatever I fucking say it is.