Graduation is a drama held together by actor Adrian Titieni.  Even when the audience feels the minutes painstakingly tick in this very long film, Titieni finds a way to reward our patience.

Adrian Titieni plays Romeo, a respected physician who eagerly awaits the high school graduation of his daughter Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus).  Days before a crucial exam, Eliza is attacked on the street – narrowly dodging sexual abuse – leading to a dark period where she’s recouping and nursing a critical injury.  Romeo isn’t a pushy parent, but he doesn’t want to see his daughter’s determination squandered.  The audience proceeds to watch Romeo compromise with others – sometimes in selfish ways – to gain opportunities to benefit his daughter;  even if that means putting his reputation on the line.

Romanian writer/director Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) uses his signature uncut filmmaking to brew tension through dialoguing and characters wading through discomfort.  Aside from his leading actor, Mungiu has also been blessed by a strong cast and a grounded concept;  making Graduation realistic and relatable.

Graduation is in need of tighter editing, especially considering how slow the third act is carried out, but it’s still worth checking out for the performances alone.


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