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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great movie!, 22 April 2007
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is one of the most captivating love stories I've ever seen on film. It starts with a young woman (Katya, played by Vera Alentova) reporting to her Worker's Dormitory friends that she has flunked by two points the exam to get into university. It ends with the most incredible sweetness of life.

It is like a French film done by a Russian company (which is what it is). The Moscow we see that does not believe in tears does believe in love, and it is not a Moscow of politics, although some people do call one another "comrade." This is a woman's point of view film (a "chick flick") that transcends any genre cage. It begins slowly, almost painfully dull in a way that will remind the viewer of all the cliches about Russia, the unstylish dress, the worker's paradise that isn't, the sharp contrast between Moscow and the peasants who live outside the city. Katya works in a factory. She works at a drill press. She is obviously underemployed. Lyudmila (Irina Muravyova) works in a bakery. She is probably gainfully employed for the time and place. They are friends, twentysomethings who are on the make for a man, but not a man from the sticks. They pretend to be university post docs or something close to that and they impress some people as they house-sit a beautiful Moscow apartment.

This is how their adult life begins in a sense. Lyudmila falls in love with an athlete; Katya becomes infatuated with a television cameraman. One thing leads to another and before we know it they are forty. Neither relationship worked out. The athlete becomes an alcoholic, the cameraman, in the sway of his mother, believes that Katya is beneath him (once he finds out that she works in a factory). How wrong he is, of course.

But no more of the plot. I won't spoil it. The plot is important. The characterizations are important. The story is like a Russian novel in that it spans lots of time, but once you are engaged you will find that the two and a half hours fly by and you will, perhaps like me, say at the end "What a great movie!"

My hat is off to director Vladimir Menshov and to Valentin Chernykh who wrote the script and to the cast. I've mentioned Vera Alentova and Irina Muravyova, but Aleksey Batlov who played Gosha was also excellent. I don't want to say anymore. Just watch the film. It is one of the best I've ever seen.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moment of Soviet brilliance, 28 Jan 2004
There is a reason why this movie won the Oscar for the best foreign language film in 1981. The reason is pretty simple: it is one of less than a handful of Soviet movies that represented life as it was. The story is about three girlfriends and their lives. I will not explain the story here for one has to see it to understand it and I am not a fan of spoilers.
This is not a history masterpiece or a family-friendly comedy that the 70's and 80's were famous for in USSR, but rather a life story that touched many hearts and in fact is still easily understood by most Russians.
If you ever wanted to understand modern Russian culture and where it comes from, this movie will provide you with enough examples and explanations.
Enjoy it...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The full spectrum, 3 Oct 2011
R. Allen - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This film does all that can be expected of the greatest movies in that It operates on several levels at once. The tableau might have been Soviet life as the Soviets would have wanted us to see it but the film maker in this case all too clearly had his own ideas. First we see a working girl (Katya) returning to her hostel after having minimally failed her exams. Katya is honest but naive. Her two room mates Ludmilla, and Antonina are equidistantly spaced from Katya on the three points of the circle; Antonina a sensible girl, settled and betrothed to a boring but stable man, (Kolya), and Ludmilla, a snobbish, man chasing social climber. When Ludmilla discovers that Katya is to mind an apartment for her aunt on posh (yes, this is the Soviet Union) Revolution Square, she muscles in and organises a party there for Moscow's elite - all men, what else - claiming that she and Katya are from high society themselves. Katya meets a TV cameraman at the party who she thinks she loves. She is desperate to maintain the line that she is a professor's daughter and not a factory worker, lest he throws her over. He eventually discovers the truth and does just that, he being too good for her. The greatness of this film is that as Katya's life progresses, the opposite scenario unfolds, she rises to the position of factory director before a chance meeting on a train of a man (Gosha) that she really does fall for. He is an ordinary toolmaker, proud of his status and unsuspecting that she is anything other than a fellow worker herself and earning less than he does. She is terrified once again that he will discover her real position in life in case, just as before, he throws her over. A nasty complication arises in the form of the original cameraman lover, who having made the discovery of her elevation, is now reinterested. He puts in an unwelcome appearance on the couple and imparts to Gosha the dreaded news. After another crisis the story ends happily. This is a very great film. The fact that you can watch it repeatedly, like the re reading of a good book, says it all.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duality of Feminine Positivism in Times of Socialist Realism, 16 Dec 2008
Anna Abrahamyan "Annathens" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Moscow inded does not believe in tears and the film duly transcends the message in tune with times when the rest of the developed world was growing through everchanging concepts of feminism, driven by industrial and technologic advance. The Oscar thus is not just to pay a tribute of a surprisingly undercensored release of a socialist life to a capitalist west, but rather put the concept of human development at a mere human level, mirroring that no matter what social circumstances, women and men seemingly come from different planets.

A tale of three 20-somethings drawn to big city lights and careers that aim at landing them the perfect man does not fall short of parallel concept-line of the now-days international hit "Sex and the City". Contrary to the review below, their wardrobes are fully charged with fashionable dresses, their hair thoroughly accessorised and "garnished" wth shoes and purses. There's a certain for of socialist materialism to several of the characters. Nevertheless, the film never surpasses the actual thresholds of lifestyle common in the Soviets. It does deserve a credit for building three stories of three girls whereby the social hierarchy of the time is drawn vividly: a non-educated girl with no scientific title would be a "no-no" in the traditionalist land of the Russian motehr-in-law whose son is a notorious cameraman that dares to claim the advance of television would eventually cause a halt to the public interest in other media tools.

Three ladies venture us through the dating games and masterful man-hunting strategies and despite successes and failures they never separate and their special bond is the strongest survivor throughout the movie. They never seize to help one another at most critical points in their lives.

The culmination of the story is when one of them gets to make a sweet revenge 20 years after being dumped by an arrogant man she'd fallen for. She's eversince has been the prototype of a successfull career woman who having experienced the hardships of late working nights, studies through university while being a single mother, smoothly manages to land atop the glass cealing, only to be challenged for earning more than the love of his life. All the storylines are true and actual even to this date and they do apply internationally. The directing and the script are achieved at a superior level. No wonder, most of the lines have become punchlines, immersed into current day conversational Russian.

I recommend it to all those interested in the best of foreign films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a Russian classic, 21 Aug 2012
Jim Forest (Alkmaar Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
At the end of a US lecture trip in the spring of 1982, while in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a friend took me to see the newly-released "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears." I was reluctant to go, assuming it would be a Soviet propaganda exercise, but my friend said that the film had been awarded an Oscar and, more to the point, was one of the funniest movies he had seen in months. So we ate a Mexican meal and went to the movies.

"Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears" is about economic and social classes in the "classless" society. Centering on three women who share a dormitory room in Moscow in 1960, the film follows their struggles to build careers and families. Despite differences in temperament and ambition, they create an enduring friendship. Mid-way the film jumps to the 1970s, so that we see what has happened after the passage of fifteen years. The stories told are comic, tragic, convincing and socially revealing. Muscovites became quite three-dimensional and not simply cardboard figures living in the grey world of Communism.

The film finally centers on a love story I still enjoy after many viewings.
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Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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