Like numerous films by John Cassavetes and Maurice Pialat, ADOPTION moves forward in time unpredictably; Márta Mészáros never hints at when a scene is about to end or how much time has passed before the next scene starts. The film feels organized around the events that have the biggest impact on Kata, the middle-aged heroine, with any insights into her routine relegated to cutaway shots. The seemingly haphazard editing evokes direct-cinema documentaries, as do the natural lighting and rough-and-tumble camerawork. The drama feels particularly intimate and authentic.

Kata is a fascinating character; I enjoy spending time with her. A widow of several years, she maintains a comfortable, if unchallenging routine, working at a factory and carrying on an affair with a married coworker that she knows will go nowhere. ADOPTION opens as Kata, at 43, starts questioning her life; her chief question is whether she should have a child. In one of those developments delivered by the gods of fiction, she gets the chance to experience motherhood when she takes an interest in Anna, a teenage ward of the state who comes to the factory as part of a job training program. The two eventually try living together, and the scenes of their cohabitation gain especially from Mészáros' intimate approach. What makes them poignant is how Kata works so hard to overcome her isolation.