Never doubt that Washington Post movie reviewer Ann Hornaday is a feminist. But sometimes she can't quite make up her mind which words to use to blast recent choose-life movies (Knocked Up and Juno) as unhelpful and unreal. Were they full of "consoling" fictions? Or "cutesy" fictions? Although the Post movie reviews usually run long in the Style section and condensed (Reader's Digest style) in the Weekend section, Hornaday chose both of the two adjectives in slightly different reviews.
The film being reviewed was a stark Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, about how a pregnant woman and her friend try to get her an appointment with an illegal abortionist, who terminates the pregnancy, but also rapes them both. Hornaday's long Style review used the "consoling fictions" line:
Although every member of the ensemble cast delivers a tone-perfect performance, the movie belongs to Marinca, who conveys a welter of emotions -- sweetness, anger, shame -- with flawless conviction, often in wordless glance or gesture. American audiences who have been treated to such consoling fictions as Knocked Up and Juno in recent months here finally have an example of filmmaking that dares to be honest about the high stakes of women's reproductive lives.
Only pro-abortion movies are honest about the lives of women. Women who finish their pregnancies are somehow outside reality, at least at the cineplex. When Hornaday scorns the choose-life movies in the Weekend section, the copy is different:
When he shows the aftermath of the termination (the title refers to the pregnancy's term), the image is at once shocking and courageous, mournful and accusatory of the [anti-abortion communist] regime that made such extremes necessary. The movie stands in stark contrast to an American film culture in a thrall to such cutesy fictions as Knocked Up and Juno. For a real doodle that can't be undid -- and one put in a very real and relevant historical context -- Mungiu has given us the right, real thing.
This is par for the course (coarse?) from Hornaday, who thought The Passion of the Christ was unreal (it was "troubling" to rely on the Gospels as history) and yet found The Last Temptation of Christ a "devout" masterpiece. A few months later, she found unmistakeable authenticity in the Christian-bashing flop satire Saved!
By the way, while we're on the subject of religion and communism, check out today's obit on Marcial Maciel, founder of the Catholic order the Legionaries of Christ, at least this passage by obit writer Adam Bernstein. Could it work any harder to disguise the Marxism in liberation theology?
Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the