It is the early 1990s and Poland is newly democratic. But the day-to-day concerns of its citizens are the same as they ever were, and this film follows four women: Catholic Agata (Julia Kijowska), fascinated by the local priest but trapped in a marriage to a man who disgusts her; headmistress Iza (Magdalena Cielecka), having an obsessive, long-term affair with a pupil's father; middle-aged teacher Renata (Dorota Kolak), forced to retire and sexually attracted to Marzina (Marta Nieradkiewicz), a one-time beauty queen who now makes a living teaching aerobics.
As with young director Tomasz Wasilewski's previous film, 'Floating Skycrapers', 'United States of Love' is chock-full of nudity. Unlike 'Floating Skyscrapers', however, a lot of it is nudity you do not really want to see: wrinkles and flab abound! Some of it is also in questionable taste: the viewer may wonder, for example, whether the camera has to linger for quite so many minutes on the nude form of a young woman immediately after she has been sexually assaulted.
What I take to be the filtering out of colours certainly sets the bleak and glum tone, but perhaps was too easy a way of doing so? Whatever, I enjoyed following the women's stories, predictable as they sometimes are (when Iza picks up a young man at a bus station you just know he will turn out to be one of her pupils, and the woman-falls-for-priest plot line is probably as old as religion itself). The lead actresses all give good performances - particularly Kolak as the lonely lesbian.
One final point - even you do not smoke, you may find yourself developing smoker's cough after seeing this. In some scenes so many people are smoking you can barely see the action...
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