By Joanna Langfield

A specific tale of the 1960’s, this story of an unwanted pregnancy could not echo more profoundly than it does today.

Based on the French writer Annie Ernaux’s memoir, we watch as a young college student tries to navigate the almost impossible circumstances in which she finds herself. Having a child would crush her professional dreams, her future precarious enough, thanks to economic and social stresses. Ending the pregnancy is equally overwhelming. Abortion is illegal (the laws only changed in the mid 1970’s in France) and anyone caught aiding in or providing an abortion could join the mother in prison. Sound familiar?

Director Audrey Diwan keeps the dialogue sparse, the moralizing even sparser. While it is made clear Anne feels some guilt over her sexual desires, she and her friendly coeds acknowledge yearnings of their own, perhaps to different degrees. Nobody, of course, want to get pregnant. And these women know that it is they, not their male partners, who will have to bear the responsibility. But the film concentrates on process, not polemics.

While the teachings here are clear, none are more vivid than the almost documentary type scenes of what women experienced if denied proper health care. Not easy to watch, but truthful. Yes, this is what some women had to go through. And yes, it was not all that long ago. And yes, it has been made pretty clear, there are those who would very much like for this to be the case again. Now.

Perhaps none of this would be as profound as it is were it not for the remarkable lead performance from Anamaria Vartolomei, whose almost mysterious and vulnerable power makes us care for Anne and her story all the more.