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|Index||265 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Right from the first scene with the camera offering the spectators point of view, I was plunged into this drama. The actors performed superbly convincing us of the authenticity of the story but also keeping us engaged. Leila Hatami in her role had a certain aura in her stare which was captivating. Important themes of Iranian's are showed such as devotion to religion and family values with the strong affection the main character and even his daughter show for the grandfather to the point that the father is prepared to abandon 14years of relationship with his wife. Another remarking fact is that I could not force my self to take sides, for Nader or Razieh who lost her child, even though we get some truths such as Razieh's confession or Termeh's intuitive thinking. In this way I felt engaged asking myself who to trust or believe. Finally the mystery of the final scene is an astute technique by the director to give the decision to the spectator to whom they think should get the daughter. If watching in a group spectators can arise this question and even debate.
A Separation is a film by Asghar Farhadi that keeps things to being
about the personal - what it means to be a married couple, apart, and
still being a family unit, or units. How does one give care to a loved
one, especially if they're older and unaware where they are (as happens
to the old grandfather in this film)? What about how things don't
happen on-a-dime, so to speak, but feelings of betrayal and distrust
grow eventually, piece by piece? In Farhadi's hands, and through his
actors, people are trying to figure things out, trying to make sense of
the people around them, about the trust, about people's behaviors,
about things that can be taken for granted like love. There's not much,
if at all, sentimentality in this approach, which makes it so affecting
This is deeply felt and raw, no punches pulled filmmaking. The intensity comes off the screen in a direct way, piling on as it's a story where there are no clear "good guys" or "villains" take place. Even characters you'd think are more conniving than others have their reasons and dimensions, like the maid's family.
This wouldn't be a script for a screen writing class. It's like life - complicated by what people try to do, when they do the wrong things but try to make them right, and visa-versa. It was also wise for Farhadi to not feature any music in the film until the end credits - it's almost as if we're finally released from the grip of the drama... and yet it's at a moment where we're on edge for what will happen next.
Featuring Hatami and Moadi's soulful, harrowing performances, for Farhadi, by the end, he has another story being suggested to tell, probably one too painful to bear. It's about... well, it's about love, and compassion, and faith, not all having to do with religion (though it may pop up, just in the subtext). It's an "M" word: 'masterpiece'.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this film. I had heard it was about a
divorce at the end of a relationship and I had therefore assumed it
would be an exploration of the emotional aspects of that. I had also
heard every critic saying it was a triumph and seen it awarded the
Oscar too, so there was a part of me that expected greatness just to
happen, even though I did try to come to the film with my own open
mind. The plot does start with a separation as the title suggests but
it uses this as the base to tell a story leading up to and after an
event and it is mostly around this that the film orientates itself.
The telling of this story and the investigation into the event is very tightly focused and it isn't really driven by revelations or plot twists, although in a way it does have these. The main driver for the film is how information and situations change character's perceptions of other and also the viewer's perception of them and their actions and motivations. This is what kept me engaged because it wasn't just a matter of "someone did something" but that this new information cast a light onto a character that made everyone think slightly differently. It sounds simple but it works very well because it means it is constantly subtly changing and shifting as you watch. The actual event itself does have certainly cultural aspects which may mean it will not make total sense to people such as myself who are not familiar with the culture, so there will be cases where the viewer finds themselves with thoughts such as "why doesn't he/she just etc"; there is a certain need to go with these and in the cases I had, there are cultural things that the film doesn't explain (and nor should it really).
With such a focus on characters and their motivations and actions, it is important that the performances are good and by and large they are. Everyone convinces in their characters and, despite cultural differences, makes things recognizable as being associated with people generally not Iranians specifically. Maadi is probably the best here as he makes his actions and feelings very clear and even as perception of him changes, his character technically doesn't he is the same person. Although Hatami has the posters, I think that Bayat did the better job as her character is more complex and more engaging although Hatami is still very good and tells us a lot about her character with very small touches. Hosseini is also very good and his character is difficult but engages because he makes sense, he seems real you may not like him as a person, but you can understand why he is the way he is without it being overly explained. The two children (Farhadi and the little girl) were also very good very natural and convincing. Direction of the performances is strong but the film still has plenty of very well framed shots and it looks crisp and clean throughout.
Overall this film probably has been a bit too over-hyped for its own good because it isn't the second coming or a film that will blow you away and as such some expecting this may be disappointed. However it is a strong engaging story that works because of how well written and performed the characters are and how the drama keeps the perception of them and their actions changing and moving. It is very well made and it impressed me by how such a small domestic drama could hold me like it was a much bigger thriller of sorts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Separation is an Iranian drama film about Nader and Simin who have
been married for 14 years and together they have the eleven-year-old
daughter Termeh. Simin wants to emigrate, as Nader did not want when he
has his father who suffers from Alzheimer's in Iran. Simin applying for
a divorce, but the application is rejected, and then she moved back to
her parents. When Nader working on day and Simin moved so there is no
one to take care of his father. Nader hires Razieh then, a young
pregnant woman that should take care of his father on the day. One day
Nader comes home to find his father unconscious on the floor with one
arm tied to the bed, Razieh is not in sight of the house, she will be
back later, but then Nader throw her out, he does not want to do with
her. Razieh must go into the emergency room because she gets severe
pain in the stomach, it turns out that she had a miscarriage and Nader
is accused of the murder of the fetus but he denies knowing that he
knew Razieh was pregnant.
This movie is really well made with fantastic actor. It feels a little different with a movie in Farsi and they take a while before you get used to it. This whole movie is filmed in absolutely fantastic angles, every scene is a work of art in itself, this will increase the score significantly! Almost every actor is impressive and there's actually not a bad actor. The film was a hit with critics and gained a lot of positive reviews, it has for example 95 MetaCore on 41 reviews, making it the film with the best ratings in 2011.
Best actor according to me: Ali-Asghar Shahbazi for the role of Nader's father.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a gripping movie in which emotions run high and personal
animosities generate one conflict after another in an ever-intensifying
series of troubles. The result could have been dizzying and confusing,
but "A Separation" is so well-written, and the characters so vividly
portrayed, that the course of events is clear and the outcome
The source of much of the trouble in the story is male pride--pride of a kind that flourishes in a culture like Iran's, in which authority is inherently male and women have little choice but to accept it and give in to it. You can see it in the utter confidence of the husband Nader in his dealings with his wife Simin and with Razieh, the woman who comes to work for him. And you can see it in the demanding and irrational behavior of Razieh's husband Hojjat. Because Razieh fears Hojjat's angry reprisal--first for taking a job without his permission, then for losing their child in the course of doing that job--she sets in motion a series of legal battles that threaten to tear both families apart. In the end, as the film makes unmistakably clear, it is their two daughters who suffer.
Yet even with this examination of the consequences of male pride, "A Separation" is not a political film or an argument for female liberation. It is a tragedy of people acting in the only way they know how, and in the process creating misery after misery.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the time of this writing there are twenty-seven five-star reviews of
this movie (twenty-eight including this one) and no zero-stars. There
is little this reviewer can add to the reviews already on this website
without repeating what has been said. This work is an inspired
masterpiece. It hosts a well-written and constructed script; full
dimensional characters which are not cardboard caricatures given to us
by Hollywood; real-life situations that are totally believable and to
which anyone can identify; the acting is; perfectly executed and
convincing acting; and strong direction.
This is an amazing film by any standard. The fact that it was made at all is a miracle. The Iranian government initially would not allow the film to be made, for political reasons. Deft diplomacy by the director allowed the green light for this film to be made.
On a deeper level this film underscores that differences in politics or government or society in the present age are largely irrelevant. This is a couple everyone can identify with; the situations faced by this family could have happened in Europe, North America, or the Far East. This film tends to contradict a saying attributed to Leo Tolstoy, That happy people are happy for the same reason, but unhappy people have their own individual reasons for that unhappiness. Here, the cause of the family tension in Simin and Nadar's marriage could have existed in California, yet the locale of the movie is in Teheran. The anguish experienced by their daughter Termeh could be shared with any adolescent. Simin's and Nadar's use of Termeh as a bargaining chip to leverage control in their divorce is sadly not uncommon in dissolution matters. Add to this mix issues of integrity, pride, personal responsibility and honesty, and the final result is a compelling family drama.
This movie is not meant for casual viewing. While a fine film in its own right, Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage is far too cerebral and rarified, even though the subject matter is completely different. In that movie you can fall asleep listening to Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson talk. Here, the story of Nadar and Simin will grab you and pull you in. Scene after compelling scene will force you to pay attention and watch the drama playing out before your eyes. This movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for 2011. It should have been nominated and won the Oscar for Best Picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*Spoilers Contained Within*
The first hour or so of this film had me a bit skeptical of the high praise lavished on this film- the plot seemed to trudge along with no real twists or surprises. Yet director Asghar Farhadi is no slouch and knows exactly why every scene plays out for the exact duration that it does, and the pay-offs come in the second hour.
Still, this isn't just a typical suspense film where the trick lies in the "reveal" of the third act, as those reveals are only one piece of the puzzle. Indeed, my impression is that the moral ambiguity brimming under the surface as a result of the narrative twists and turns is the real substance of the film. No character is without his or her foibles- even the relatively innocent children make decisions that arguably make complicated matters even more labyrinthine. Because of this, the viewer can never truly be sure which character to side with and I suspect this is one reason why it was initially hard for me to become engrossed in the movie. That the filmmakers managed to create an engaging story in which each character makes complicated/morally tenuous decisions for completely understandable reasons is a major feat- I can think of only a handful of movies lacking a protagonist to "root for," while still utterly engaging their audience, and even fewer still which do so successfully.
There's a lot to digest after the film, though no big action scenes or Oscar-baity breakdowns. The issues raised may be indicative of the issues facing Iranian society, but can be generalized to reflect societal issues in any community globally. The acting is also top-notch and not overly showy and I feel it benefits from not featuring any recognizable actors (to an American audience, at any rate) in more fully immersing the viewer.
This isn't a knockout film that wows and dazzles, but it is an intricately built work that deftly pulls viewers' allegiances from one character to another in an incredibly understated way.
Asghar Farhadi's A Separation is my first experience with Iranian
cinema and it for sure won't be my last. It reminds me instantly of a
quote said by American director Alexander Payne, "...I think there may
be a problem with a world in which making small, human[...]films is 'an
achievement.' It should be the norm." Just from this film, I would be
justified in saying that Farhadi is Iran's Payne.
Here is a wonderfully made film that comes from a country that has been nothing but slandered for the last decade. We constantly hear horrible things are brewing in Iraq, such as suppression, inequality, unrest, and the increasing possibility of nuclear war, yet we see the tenderness and contemporary side of the country, where problems had by typical townfolk will mirror those of someone living in the United States. For a country so isolated and so different, it sure knows what notes to strike to hit home.
The opening scene focuses on Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), a couple who have been married for fourteen years and are now in court filing for divorce. The camera is positioned as if we are the judge, hearing both cases, with interruptions and simultaneous banter from each party. This gives us a great sense of angst, and the facial expressions on both characters are raw and authentic. They are divorcing because of grand contention when consulting their family's future, with Simin wanting to pack up and leave Iran in pursuit of a better life, wand Nader not wanting to leave his elderly father, who is tragically stricken with Alzheimer's.
Another debate hovering over both of their heads is the future of their eleven year old daughter, Termeh (played magnificently by Sarina Farhadi). She chooses to live with her father, because by doing so, her mother will not leave Iran, and their family will still be somewhat close. No child, regardless of background or country, should ever need to make a decision like Termeh's.
It dawns on Nader that because of work, he will need someone to watch his ailing father during the day. A woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayat) is hired as a caretaker for the man, who has limited his speaking to fragmented words and has now taken the life of a lion, laying in bed and sleeping for much of the day. One day, Nader and Termeh return home to an empty house to find the man lying on the floor unconscious, with one of his hands tied to the bedpost. Nader too discovers money missing from his home and when Razieh returns home, Nader erects an enormous argument which leads to harsh courtroom consequences after allegations raised by Razieh that she was physically assaulted.
Razieh is pregnant and is married to the demanding, vindictive troublemaker Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who only grows more and more demanding and agitated as time progresses. The two couples becomes unraveled by this tragedy, and the film begins to shed light on these character's decisions during this madness, following them on a relentless journey through the complications of marriage and impulsive decisions not meant to cause harm. I could label this Iran's version of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, a film where characters are faced with multiple decisions that need critical thinking in order to work out favorably, but I fear that would be an oversimplification.
A Separation does not hesitate to dig deep into the separation of ethics, morality, religion, politics, and economics in present-day Iran. Writer/director Farhadi carefully examines the restraints both law and faith have within Iranians, whose lives are particularly foreign and difficult to comprehend for Americans, who are without a doubt living with restraints we do not usually recognize. It's admirable the film doesn't get stuck in stylistic clichés, empty-headed aesthetics, and a list of cripplingly undeveloped characters. We see these characters with space and clarity, watching them as they travel along this unforgiving road of confusion none of them should be facing.
One actress that is likely to go unnoticed with four remarkable talents taking center stage is Sarina Farhadi's terrific portrayal of a youth caught in the middle of tireless madness. She is not made out to be the precocious tike who knows way too much, but is drawn more confused than her parents, who are caught in the middle of unfortunate circumstance. Much like the facial expressions of her parents, Farhadi's character Termeh holds those of innocence lost and fear of increasingly destructive trouble brewing. The hard part is knowing there is almost nothing she can do to stop it. She is forced to take a backseat while the ugly bleakness of the world drives around a labyrinth of confusion.
Farhadi's Iran in A Separation is the kind of nuanced one that must be seen. It shows its characters as humans, and not trigger-happy terrorists. It shows their problems as common, and not in an unconventional way that is impossible for audiences of other countries to not relate to or be unable to grasp. The film is a difficult one to thoroughly contemplate alone, and perhaps it's one of those that is better debated with close friends or acquaintances. Its morally complex and involving scenarios are overwhelming to try and fathom quietly.
Starring: Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. Directed by: Asghar Farhadi.
A domestic drama set in contemporary Tehran. Yawn, no thank you. I love
my World Cinema but usually too much politics and religion take over
and gets too heavy, masking the story.
However, this intelligently scripted (original, Oscar nominated script by director Asghar Farhadi, in the mainstream - that's 1 out 5 of ALL movies that year) soon grips and a personal story that is SO universal, then becomes shaped by Iran's religion and politics. This is done so superbly, you won't notice the join. Considering also that it's in Persian and even the end titles don't have any western writing, it's obviously not made with the U.S and Europe in mind.
The story, surrounding the separation (as in the title) of Nadir and Simmin is complicated by Nadir's elderly father needing constant care due to his Alzheimers, making him vulnerable and a liability when he wanders. The couple have a young teenage daughter, who is intelligent, straight-forward and a good kid. The couple are both working, he in a bank.
Most of the two hours deals with issues thrown up by these very ordinary, boring domestic situations but as in real life and to all who've been in such, there are big problems dealing with getting reliable care for the old man - and this is where the country's religion and economics come in.
Issues on debt, debtors, birth, miscarriage, healthcare, theft, the legal system - even Tehran's traffic are all covered in a most natural and realistic way, leading to a complex scenario that culminates to a heart-rending and impossible situation. At times, it's straggly, as is the filming, which is for the better. Real life conversations aren't rehearsed and the camera looks around like the eye does - not shaky all the time like many modern films, nor smooth, but flitting to the subject being looked at and then holding that, making it all very realistic. The ending is also nicely straggly, too - you'll see what I mean - allowing the viewer to form their own opinion rather than it being neatly pigeon- holed.
A Separation is not a film to see over and again; but watch it once and you'll learn more about real life Muslims in their own environment, with their own rules and how they deal with a big Life situation. That piece of drama is worth seeing for itself - that bit's universal as I said - as for the film, the only taint from the west are the added subtitles.
THIS FILM IS TRULY A MASTERPIECE!!!This is one of the best movies I've
ever seen in a very long time!!
The acting was incredible!!!!!!!!!Totally deserved the award,
Even though the storyline isn't that interesting , the SENSATIONAL acting made me dying to know what's gonna happen next !!
Recommend this movie to everyone who hasn't seen it yet ! just see it and you won't regret it !!!
I wish more people in the world knew about this film.who cares about Hollywood ,true cinema is out there
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