Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The film being reviewed was a stark Romanian film "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days," about how a pregnant woman and her friend try to get her an appointment with an illegal abortionist, who terminates the pregnancy, but also rapes them both. Hornaday's long Style review used the "consoling fictions" line:
Although every member of the ensemble cast delivers a tone-perfect performance, the movie belongs to Marinca, who conveys a welter of emotions -- sweetness, anger, shame -- with flawless conviction, often in wordless glance or gesture. American audiences who have been treated to such consoling fictions as "Knocked Up" and "Juno" in recent months here finally have an example of filmmaking that dares to be honest about the high stakes of women's reproductive lives.
Only pro-abortion movies are honest about the lives of women. Women who finish their pregnancies are somehow outside reality, at least at the cineplex. When Hornaday scorns the choose-life movies in the Weekend section, the copy is different:
When he shows the aftermath of the termination (the title refers to the pregnancy's term), the image is at once shocking and courageous, mournful and accusatory of the [anti-abortion communist] regime that made such extremes necessary. The movie stands in stark contrast to an American film culture in a thrall to such cutesy fictions as "Knocked Up" and "Juno." For a real doodle that can't be undid -- and one put in a very real and relevant historical context -- Mungiu has given us the right, real thing.
This is par for the course (coarse?) from Hornaday, who thought "The Passion of the Christ" was unreal (it was "troubling" to rely on the Gospels as history) and yet found "The Last Temptation of Christ" a "devout" masterpiece. A few months later, she found unmistakeable authenticity in the Christian-bashing flop satire "Saved!"
Truth is death, life is fiction?