WHAT I LIKED: Márta Mészáros' 'Adoption,' is a film about women, whose opportunities are restricted by men, quietly taking a stand for themselves.
We meet Young Anna (Gyöngyvér Vigh) and all the other girls at the care home she's at who have to stay under the watchful eye of their headmaster, and their escape only seems feasible if they enter into a forbidden marriage. Then there's the lone central character Kata (Katalin Berek) who's ground down by her work at a carpentry factory, told she can't bear or adopt a baby by the married man she loves because she can't raise it on her own, and even proked and prodded by a male doctor to determine if she can even have a baby if she finds a willing partner.
All of this leads her to turn away from others and toward herself for fulfillment; firstly by taking in and befriending Anna to give her life meaning and companionship, but eventually by adopting a child. That's an empowering thing to watch, but we only empathise with Anna and her wants and needs because the film does so much of the emotional work visually and physically. On the one hand, that's enabled by the brilliantly nuanced performances, but it's also thanks to Mészáros' utterly magnetic camera work which spends much of its time panning in long close-ups from Kata's slightly weary face or Anna's wishful eyes, to the way the skin on Kata's hands work with her wood versus her doctor's probing, invasive hands on her skin. That all results in some of the most wonderful camerawork I've ever seen; personifying the female-gaze, and creating a perfect focus on the nuances of feeling and emotion.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: For what the film tries to do, there's frankly little to fault.
VERDICT: Incredibly-filmed and wonderfully-acted; Márta Mészáros' 'Adoption,' sees a fascinating woman take ownership of her own fulfillment throughout the course of a moving, thematic character-arc.