Graduation

"Extraordinary"

Graduation Review


Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed story about his home culture. And the way it plays out is so realistic that it almost feels like a fly-on-the-wall documentary. Packed with authentic characters we can easily identify with, it's powerfully thought-provoking, dramatically gripping and bursting with meaning, even though it never preaches at us.

In Bucharest, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus) is a teen whose good grades have earned her a scholarship to a British university. But the day before her final exams, she's attacked by a stranger and left badly shaken. Concerned that this will affect her marks and derail her future, her father Romeo (Adrian Titieni) speaks to a few friends who might be able to help. Each of them owes someone else a favour, and could also use one from a top doctor like Romeo. Meanwhile, Romeo has had some worrying news from his mistress Sandra (Malina Manovici), whom his wife Magda (Lia Bugnar) is fully aware of. And Eliza's older boyfriend Marius (Rares Andrici) is trying to talk her out of leaving Romania.

All of these plot threads weave together seamlessly as an exploration of the way each of us compromises our morals in big and small ways, explaining away our own actions while expecting more from everyone around us. At the centre of the web, Romeo is a principled man who quietly investigates Eliza's attack because the police won't do anything. Titieni is terrific in the role, revealing an intelligent man whose calm exterior obscures a more tightly wound internal panic. And as the three women in his life, Dragus, Manovici and Bugnar bring out extra layers of depth that make their own journeys utterly riveting.

Mungiu is exploring a society that is only now emerging from decades of corruption, so it still operates on a system of tit-for-tat favours. People only help each other because someday they'll be able to call in the debt. And the snaky plot exposes how this affects every situation from a small family to the nation's government. Most intriguing is the way everyone understands that this isn't the right way to live, but it might be the only way to survive. Mungiu orchestrates all of this over two hours of riveting encounters that never tip over into melodrama. So in the end, it's the people who linger in our minds, making us think about our own lives from a new perspective.



Graduation

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th May 2016

Production compaines: Blueline Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Cristian Mungiu

Producer: Cristian Mungiu

Starring: as Polly Deely, as Chauncey Boyd, as Carl Jenkins, as Tom Jackson, as Dean Deeley, as Suzy Winters

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.