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Originally published Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:05 PM

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A mother runs amok in ‘Child’s Pose’

A three-star review of “Child’s Pose,” a drama starring Romanian actress Luminita Gheorghiu as an overbearing mother facing a crisis.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 3 stars

‘Child’s Pose,’ with Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Ilinca Goia, Natasa Raab, Florin Zamfirescu, Vlad Ivanov. Directed by Calin Peter Netzer, from a screenplay by Razvan Radulescu and Netzer. 112 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. In Romanian with English subtitles. Seven Gables.

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“You think he wanted to run somebody over? Try putting yourself in his shoes,” says Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu), not thinking — or not caring — about her words. She’s speaking to a family member of a child who died: run over by a car driven by Cornelia’s adult son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache), who was recklessly speeding. Focused entirely on Barbu — Cornelia introduces herself to police as “mother of the boy,” though he’s over 30 — she sees nothing else. Throughout “Child’s Pose,” a thoughtful drama from Romanian filmmaker Calin Peter Netzer, she tries to make his predicament go away, the way she might once have banished a little boy’s nightmare.

Gheorghiu, a mainstay of Romanian cinema (“Beyond the Hills,” “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,”), here plays a character so pale and blond she almost seems to disappear under bright lights — though it’s hard to imagine the imperious Cornelia (whose husband calls her “Controlia”) fading away. She’s a well-off architect who strides confidently in her fur coats, certain that money, position and determination can make problems disappear. And, as this film alarmingly shows us, she’s often right: a witness coolly offers to sell his testimony; police seem more interested in processing paperwork than in truth. It’s a chilly story, shot with claustrophobic, close-in cameras, right up to its abrupt ending — in which a mother learns, to her horror, something about the kind of pain that isn’t easily swept away.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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