I'd have to say that this movie confronts the real situations in the Soviet Union. It depicted dysfunctional family relationships, casual sex, alcoholism and even the bleak scenery of the urban community due to worsening pollution. While it centers on Vera and her family, it's not just a family drama but an over-all social document of the country. I think in part this is why it became controversial in Russia but the controversy paved way for curiosity and the result: the film did well at the box-office. Acting portrayals were impressive but while Natalya Negoda as Vera was the runaway star I'd have to say another character, her friend Christyakova (Aleksandra Tabakova) was commendable for her no-holds barred way of portrayal. This is a curious study of a culture and country that interests most of us, and for an indie film this is generally admirable.