24 December 2013 7:30 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, the follow-up to his much-admired A Separation, is set on the outskirts of Paris and moves at the speed of tectonic plates. It’s absorbing for a long while, at least half its two-hour running time — an evocatively photographed soap opera with actors who are impossibly gorgeous and yet human-looking — but it goes on and on, piling on twists, adding devices so clunky they’d have embarrassed most nineteenth-century problem-dramatists, refusing to jell despite the actors’ prodigious suffering. It’s as if Farhadi became too depressed by his own cynicism to keep the drama humming. The movie turns into a dour demonstration of missed connections.The darkly handsome Iranian actor Ali Mosaffa plays Ahmad, a man who returns from a spell in Iran to see Marie (Bérénice Bejo), his lovely [redacted], and finalize his [redacted], as well as renew his relationship with [redacted]. I’m redacting plot details »

- David Edelstein

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