4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007, Romania)

#96 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. This is a film that unabashedly confronts the brutality of abortion. It deals in silence, and shame, and torment with unbroken shots and low-key performances that detail an illegal black-market abortion and the devastating aftermath over the course of a single day in Romania.

Gabriela is flighty, clueless, and has found herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her roommate Otilia vows to help her and hold her hand through this dangerous illegal abortion that has been planned. Otilia suddenly gets pulled into more than she could have ever imagined as she must borrow money to pay for the abortion, arrange a hotel room, and much more. Otilia acts out of loyalty and perhaps naiveté just wanting to protect her friend. Once these two women are alone with this man in the room, that’s when their depravity of their situation fully becomes exposed.

It’s hard to determine whether this film is speaking out against the cruelty of abortion or advocating for more open and safe abortion practices. Perhaps, it is up for interpretation and I’m sure each viewer will walk away with a different reaction. As I watched the terrifying events Gabriela and Otilia had to go through I was overcome with the preciousness of human life and the darkness that destroying it causes. As the unsettling reality of these events come unraveled, it deeply effects not only these women but also the viewers as well.

In the poignant final scene where they are trying to get some dinner following this horrific
day in their lives. They look down at the meat on their plate and can hardly hold themselves together. They agree to never again discuss what had just taken place and just like in our world it is done, without another thought. The power of this film is that it forces another thought. It forces you to not simply avert your eyes and neglect the truth. It forces you to see life for the beautiful and sacred gift that it is.

Note: This film contains some very disturbing scenes. It is not rated by the MPAA but would probably receive an R rating due to its heavy theme.

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