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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I came to Calin Peter Netzer's 2013 new wave Romanian film, "Child's Pose", with high hopes, given its wide critical acclaim. I have to say that overall, I was sadly disappointed. In Romanian with English subtitles, the film has been variously described as "challenging and intelligent" (Peter Bradshaw, Guardian), "sharply crafted" (Zeitgeist, Rotten Tomatoes) and "a ferocious psychological drama with the pace of a thriller" (Kenneth Turan, New York Times). Sadly, I found it to be none of these things.

"Child's Pose" is a film that really makes its audience work hard, not because the screenplay is intellectually challenging or even emotionally draining (the film isn't really either) but rather because it has a layer of ultra-realism that seems to serve little purpose other than to obscure the actual drama, which is veiled by a tedious mask of life's minutiae, all of which require the viewer's constant examination just in case something of importance escapes notice. Given the subject matter's potential, this is a real shame. Even the film's English title seems designed to obfuscate matters. I wonder why a decision was taken not to use a more accurate rendering of the original Romanian ("Pozitia copilului") of something like "Position of a Child"? This would have at least made more sense.

Luminita Gheorghiu plays a wealthy and influential architect, Cornelia, who is well-connected within the Romanian elite and is an over-bearing and over-controlling mother to her only son, the 30-something Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache). Simultaneously spoiled and smothered by his mother all his life and anxious to break away from her control, the relationship between mother and son has become strained, to say the least. Barbu himself comes across as dysfunctional as an individual, never having been allowed to grow up and now clearly struggling to face up to his responsibilities as an adult. When he hits and kills a 14-year old boy in a road traffic accident, Cornelia takes it upon herself to take charge of affairs, mounting a major offensive to keep him out of court and take full control of his life once more.

All of this should provide excellent material from which to build a powerful emotional drama, especially coupled with the corruption that remains rife in that country, post-Ceaușescu. But somehow, the film fails to deliver. And while the production works hard to point up the childish exchange between Cornelia and the other driver, as they negotiate, as adults, an appropriate price for him to falsify his police witness statement in Barbu's favour, as well as her subsequent attempts to persuade the father of the dead boy not to press charges against her (guilty) son because she cannot stand the thought of him going to prison, the few powerful moments are all but lost amongst the tedious welter of the rest. Even the fact that it is Barbu's own almost child-like (and interestingly unheard) exchange with the father which finally achieves what his mother's posturing, position and money could not is almost allowed to pass us by, too.

All in all, the effort involve in watching this film never feels to pay off. Too much of it is tedious in the extreme and too much of it is altogether too much like real like to be the slightest bit entertaining. Disappointing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 January 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My son is engaged to a lovely Romanian girl so I couldn't miss the chance of getting this for them to enjoy. As it turned out, they'd already seen it and thoroughly enjoyed it, dark as it is. European films like this tend to remind me of just how good cinema films can be. That isn't to say that Holywood and UK films are poor at all, but that they do lack something that many European films often have in spades, something like a greater sense of realism and genuineness. There's something wonderfully authentic about this film. It is, as other reviewers say, a "spellbinding drama of social commentary and psychological realism", and a "caustic look into the corrupt heart of the Eastern European bourgeoisie" but it's much more than this. We can relate to all that is shown here. It is not "Romanian" or "European" but fully human. It's a very good film, and well worth watching. The technical quality of the film isn't always top notch but there is nothing that will detract from the enjoyment.
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on 26 January 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This expertly directed and brilliantly acted Romanian drama gives us a new addition to the cinematic pantheon of overbearing bourgeois mothers. Luminiţa Gheorghiu is fantastic in the central role of Cornelia, a well-off middle class woman used to getting what she wants who finds controlling her son's life more challenging once he's facing jail for killing a child by reckless driving.

This utterly engrossing drama won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and Cornelia is undoubtedly one of the most interesting, scary and driven characters in recent cinema. The sequence where she and her equally pushy sister arrive at a provincial police station, fur coats and mobiles in hand, and proceed to systematically arrange a revision of her son's signed statement to make him seem less guilty is a toe-curlingly brilliant instant classic. Highly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Child's Pose is a difficult film because no one is entirely right and everyone is a shade of wrong. A mother goes to all kinds of lengths to get her son off the hook after he runs over and kills a teenager. However whilst he has been an utter idiot, he's acting out because his mother is so asphyxiating he is lashing out to get away. Both of their behaviours are terrible for different reasons but you keep watching to see where it all ends up. The reason I've only rated it three stars is because I waited for some kind of closure to the relationship but the end doesn't really give one and so it felt like there was no pay off.
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Child's Pose is another excellent Romania drama - it's a taste of the country post-Ceaușescu - with all its corruption and other ills. Luminița Gheorghiu is great as Cornelia - a rich and overpowering mother - whose relationship with her adult son is fraught to say the least. Nevertheless she is there to protect him when trouble comes. It's chilling and full of suspense.
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Worthy but dull is how I guess you would describe this Romanian drama. For myself, it just didn't take off and was held together by the quality of the acting.Without detailing the story which is given above. Child's Pose is one of those films that you feel you have to stick with until the end but after it is all over you think..oh well, I won't be watching that again.
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Not a laugh a minute, as you would have to be in a good mood to watch this car crash film. Domineering mother who can't accept her son has flown the nest. It is a grim watch with sub-titles, but I would recommend it, as it is great drama which makes you react emotionally.
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a fantastic and strong (and sometime slow) movie providing you can put up with lots of dialogue and lots of subtitles. It requires concentration to understand the depth of the characters and to fully follow the plot (i.e. if you think the best movie on earth is Star Wars - do not watch this).

I'm not going to talk about the plot here - the basics are descriped in Amazon description "Cornelia is Romanian upper calss who will not stop at anything when trying to save her son involved in fatal car crash..." etc.

The filming is realistic, the acting great and equally realistic in tradition with other Romania master pieces like 'Thusday after Christmas' or '4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days'. If you liked those you'll enjoy this too!
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on 15 March 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is quite an intriguing film. This probably isn’t the usual thing that I watch but I did quite like it.
The plot works, the acting seems fine, the subtitles are well done and everything seems to be grimly authentic.
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