I haven’t actually seen this one, but The Mighty, Mighty, Monkseal has, so here’s what the seal has to say:
“Four Months…” actually really focuses, not on the woman having the abortion, but on her best friend and University room-mate [are we seeing a theme, readers, in how abortion stories are told? – see my post on revolutionary road], who has to go about the business of getting the whole sorry affair set up, and who suffers an awful lot of consequences as a result of your friend’s lack of street-smarts or self-confidence. That’s not to say that the film stints on showing the horrors of backstreet abortion (really doesn’t, particularly during the half-hour sequence that can probably be best summed up with the phrase “foetus in a handbag”), but this is really a film, not just about how abortion affects those who terminate their pregnancies, but those around them.
Especially if the woman having the abortion has decided to set up arrangements with one of the most terrifying scene presences I’ve ever seen, and who frankly makes Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men look a little bit panto villain by comparison. From the moment he appears on screen to the moment he leaves, you can tell, even though his demeanour is generally that of an avuncularly professional family doctor, that “Mr Baby” is kind of the devil. The sense of palpable unease as he goes through his “negotiations” with his “clients” ratchets up piece by piece to quite an unbearable level, before climaxing in quite the most disturbing 15 minutes of cinema I’ve seen in a while.
Certianly he’s one of the more memorable screen villains of our time.
Apart from that, the film is carried pretty much on the back of the female lead, especially in one dinner party sequence, (which will probably be your own personal Hinge Factor as to whether the film is intelligent, brave, brilliant film-making, or pretentious hollow, plot-less dreck) in which the camera is trained directly on her face for about 20- 25 minutes. (Take THAT, Nicole Kidman in Birth!) And carry it she does, with just the right mixture of self-confident ballsiness and slowly increasing tension and incoherent terror.
Overall, it’s a very good film indeed, although yeah. Not exactly a light watch.
Because… did I mention “foetus in a handbag”?