Beaufort. The title is the name of a Crusader fort occupied by the Israeli army in the 1980s war with Lebanon. Underground passages were built for safety, and the overall effect is of burrowing, interrupted by missile killings. Grim, naturally, but with an air of forlorn integrity.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. From Romania, an account of a struggle by a young woman to get an abortion for her college roommate--abortions being illegal in the 1980s. Much more than a social tract because the writer-director, Cristian Mungiu, has mastered a unique use of time and considerable depth of character.

Michael Clayton. Tony Gilroy, experienced screenwriter and first-time director, explores a gigantic New York law firm with nooks and crannies of mind and soul that are continually fascinating. George Clooney, typically excellent, plays a troubleshooter lawyer who himself has troubles. (11/5/07)

The Savages. A memorably fine account of a middle-aged brother and sister who are brought together by the need to care for their aging father. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are sterling in the roles, and the writer-director, Tamara Jenkins, is a new benefit for the film world.

Stanley Kauffmann is The New Republic's film critic.

By Stanley Kauffmann