2019 | Drama | 130 minutes | Russian with English subtitles
Shortly after World War II, Lya, known as “Beanpole,” a hospital nurse in Leningrad, is caring for Pashka, her friend’s Masha’s six-year-old boy. Suffering from PTSD, Lya accidentally smothers and kills Pashka. When Masha returns to pick up Pashka, she learns of the tragedy. After the initial shock passes, Masha tells Lya that she would like another son but she can’t because she’s had a hysterectomy. Masha asks Lya to have the baby they can raise together. Lya is reluctant when Masha becomes involved with Sasha, a pickup she met at a dance. Masha meets Sasha’s wealthy parents but they look down on her. On the tram ride home, Masha is told the tram ran over and killed a tall blonde woman. Fearing it’s Lya, Masha rushes back to the apartment and is relieved to find Lya alive and well. They embrace and vow they will raise a child together and perhaps, through it all, they may get a shot at living a happy, normal life.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 92%
- Metacritic Score: 84
Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Un Certain Regard (Kantemir Balagov); Best Director (Balagov)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Film
Palm Springs International Film Festival: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Eagle Awards, Russia: Best Actress (Viktoria Miroshnichenko)
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The effects of war play upon all the characters in ways that warp and thwart any attempt at emotional normalcy; the fact that their side won does virtually nothing to alleviate the psychological, emotional and physical damage. It’s a film both rigorous and indulgent, rewarding and aggravating.
This movie tells a tough, unsparing story about war trauma, which seeps into souls and bodies and inevitably becomes—Balagov suggests—a generational bequest
Not only is BEANPOLE one of the first essential cinematic works released in theaters this year, it is the most involving character study in recent memory.
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