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Graduation

Director:  Cristian Mungiu
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.0

After his daughter Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus) is assaulted (raped?) on her way to school and struggles emotionally (and physically - her writing arm was injured in the attack) to do well on the tests required to get into Cambridge, demanding/obsessive father Dr. Aldea (Adrian Titieni) will stop at nothing to get her test scores "fixed," all the while juggling relationships with his miserable, chain-smoking wife and his mistress, a former patient. It's about a parent's responsibility to his/her offspring to provide the best possible life for him/her - the town they live in is dangerous (windows keep being broken, predators are on the loose) - but it's also about circumstance, and how trying to fight fate is often a losing battle: Eliza doesn't share the same dream as Pop and just wants to hang out with her sketchy boyfriend. For the insight Mungiu has into human nature (which includes personal and political corruption) and his skill with actors/actresses, his way of presenting things is a little too on the nose ... and that ending is disappointing: sure, there's a graduation ceremony, but what about those other loose ends just dangling in the Romanian soot?

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