“Graduation” – Review (3 of 5 Stars)

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By Christina Nicole, Senior Staff Writer

“Graduation” comes from writer-director Cristian Mungiu. It played a Cannes last year and is getting a wider release this month.

The future is unknown; it is scary yet hopeful. It is where all hopes and dreams live and flourish. We work to see our dreams come true, but things happen that can cause us to lose sight of what we want.

Mungui’s “Graduation” is the story of a doctor Romeo, and his daughter Eliza. Eliza has worked very hard to get great grades in high school and has the potential for a prestigious scholarship that is contingent on her final exams. A man attacks Eliza on her way into school on the eve of her exams.

Eliza is rattled. How can she focus and perform well now? Romeo is in a tizzy. Everything he has done and will do is for Eliza and her future. She needs this scholarship to be able to leave Romania and make a better life for herself in the world. Romeo is willing to make some questionable deals to secure Eliza’s future.

While Romeo’s world is crumbling all around, he asks for just one thing: Eliza’s success on her exams.

“Graduation” is a slow burn, a bit of a muted drama. It is well acted, but it lacks excitement. The film is wonderfully directed. Each frame is expertly composed, and gives the audience the feeling of being in the room with the characters as they live their lives.

3 of 5 stars.

“Graduation” opens at Atlanta’s Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on Friday, May 19.

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