Plot

Alina and Voichita have been friends since their orphanage days. And they have been lovers since they became sexually mature. But despite their oath of mutual fidelity, Alina, who could not bear poverty any more, emigrated to Germany where she became a barmaid. Now she just could not take the estrangement from Alina and today she is back to Moldavia with a view to taking Voichita along with her to Germany. The only trouble is that in the meantime her girlfriend has betrayed her in falling in love with… God! Voichita indeed now lives in a convent where she plans to make vows. The priest agrees, if somewhat reluctantly, to accommodate Alina before their (hypothetical) departure. He sees all too well that not only is the young woman materialistic but hostile and troublesome as well…

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Film information

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Starring: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 
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Release date: Mar 8, 2013
 
Official website: http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/beyond-the-hills
 
Runtime: 150 min
 
Movie Reviews:
  • 91
    The A.V. Club - by Scott Tobias
    Beyond The Hills has a rich understanding of the appeals and perils of religious values that provide structure and meaning to some while seeming cruel and irrational to outsiders. It’s a world within a world, and Mungiu peers from a clear window. ...read more

  • 90
    Village Voice - by Scott Foundas
    The haunting final image suggests how quickly such stories can be lost...which makes Beyond the Hills, above all else, a powerful and necessary act of reclamation. ...read more

  • 88
    Chicago Tribune - by Michael Phillips
    Of all the movies culminating in a rite of exorcism, Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's remarkable Beyond the Hills stands alone. ...read more

  • 88
    New York Post - by Farran Smith Nehme
    What this means is that at times the pace of Beyond the Hills is nerve-wrackingly slow. But Mungiu has his own way of creating suspense, and he has a gift for making a known outcome as shocking as a twist. ...read more

  • 88
    Chicago Sun-Times - by Steven Boone
    Beyond the Hills is an arthouse film from Romania, yet, in its slow, lurching progress toward a tragic exorcism, it is a stylistic nephew of America's "The Exorcist." ...read more

  • 88
    Slant Magazine - by Nick Schager
    It's Cristian Mungiu's staging and compositional skill that lends the material its true sense of dawning dread. ...read more

  • 83
    The Playlist - by Kevin Jagernauth
    Deceivingly complex, with an emotional center that peels away like an onion the longer it unfolds, this is a powerful effort from Mungiu in which love and faith are both different kinds of poison. ...read more

  • 80
    Empire - by David Parkinson
    A bruising psychodrama from the Palme d'Or winner that taps into the dark heart of central European superstition. ...read more

  • 80
    Time - by Mary Pols
    Beyond the Hills may be the best movie no one will want to see in 2013. ...read more

  • 80
    Slate - by Dana Stevens
    Based on a horrifying real-life case that took place in the Moldavia region of Romania in 2005, Beyond the Hills can be seen as both a critique of patriarchal religious systems and an allegory about the tension between secularism and faith (as well as a precisely and painfully observed portrait of one particular friendship). ...read more

  • 80
    The New Yorker - by Anthony Lane
    Strangest of all, we go along with it in a sort of dream, scarcely pausing to complain, so expert is Mungiu at drawing us into the fold of these passionate souls. [8 March 2013, p.80] ...

  • 80
    Los Angeles Times - by Sheri Linden
    With its long takes and deliberate pacing, Beyond the Hills is demanding but always engrossing, even during its repetitive middle section. ...read more

  • 80
    New York Daily News - by Joe Neumaier
    The deliberate pace Mungiu employs in this incredible work is so engrossing and quietly heartbreaking that its philosophical ending may come as a shock. ...read more

  • 80
    Time Out New York - by Keith Uhlich
    As in his much-lauded "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," the latest feature from Palme d’Or–winning filmmaker Cristian Mungiu takes a rigorous approach to the material. But where the previous film — about two women seeking a back-alley abortion — was a reductively dour slog, Beyond the Hills feels more caustically all-encompassing. ...read more

  • 80
    Total Film - by Tom Dawson
    Arduous yet always absorbing, Cristian Mungiu’s first full-length feature since 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is inspired by a real-life case of a tragically botched exorcism in rural Romania. ...read more

  • 80
    The Guardian - by Peter Bradshaw
    Enthralling, mysterious and intimately upsetting – a terrible demonstration of how poverty creates a space which irrational fear must fill. ...read more

  • 75
    Washington Post - by Ann Hornaday
    The filmmaker’s dedication to non-judgment occasionally militates against narrative drive: Beyond the Hills begins to sag in its middle sequences, when the repetitive monotony of Alina’s outbursts begins to yield diminishing returns. But he has made a film that’s worth even those wearying sequence. ...read more

  • 75
    Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
    It has moments when the spiritual and the secular burst forth in stunning disarray. ...read more

  • 75
    Rolling Stone - by Peter Travers
    Exorcist junkies should look elsewhere. Instead of spinning heads and projectile puke, Mungiu offers nuance and provocation. The result is quietly devastating. ...read more

  • 75
    indieWIRE - by Eric Kohn
    Mungiu's method creates the feeling of being submerged in a maze of confrontations and chatter, but the build-up gets so tiring that the concluding scenes come as a relief instead of a payoff. ...read more

  • 70
    NPR - by Mark Jenkins
    Ultimately, the bleak universe conjured by Beyond the Hills is more compelling than what happens in it. ...read more

  • 70
    The Hollywood Reporter - by Stephen Dalton
    Beyond the Hills is less fun than any film about lesbian nuns and their psychotic ex-lovers ought to be. But it is an engrossingly serious work, and confirms Mungiu as a maturing talent with more universal stories to tell than those defined by Romania’s recent political past. ...read more

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