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Reviews & Ratings for
The Past More at IMDbPro »Le passé (original title)

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164 out of 180 people found the following review useful:

a dazzling drama about the past

Author: parham071 from Brussels, Belgium
18 May 2013

This film was highly expected among the cinephiles and film critics who had watched the Oscar-winning film "A Separation". this is the first time the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi makes a movie which is not only not in his native language (Persian), but he can't even speak a word of it! he seems to have done a great job. the main theme ,like his previous movies, is family relations and here we can see a detailed observation of the effects of the past in our life. we can't get rid of our pasts, but only carry it along...

The actors and actresses are in the right places. Ali Mosaffa powerfully portrays an Iranian man who comes to France in order to officialize his divorce with Marie(Bérénice Bejo), which is now living with his new boyfriend (Tahar Rahim). both Bejo and Rahim deliver promising performances and the young Belgian actress Pauline Burlet shows that her lack of experience can't prevent her from shining among the other stars of the film.the actors in supporting roles like the two kids(Elyes Aguis and Jeanne Jestin) are properly chosen and remind us of our childhood when we don't carry any packages from the past.

Many people from different countries worked in this movie together to show us as a result that the human sentiments is the universal language and we don't necessarily need our mother tongues to communicate.

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76 out of 92 people found the following review useful:


Author: ebrahim-mehri from Iran
26 June 2013

As an Iranian, I have respect for Farhadi and I expected a marvelous film, and it was! He once again proved that a film can be watchable even without visual arts, thrilling action scenes or sexual materials. The structure of the story is somewhat similar to A Separation: two parallel stories of two families. Several twists and surprises convince you to stick to your seat to the end. There's no excessive dialog. You have to listen carefully and memorize all the details. It has a very interesting ending; even when the cast was shown I was watching what would happen next(!) and the audience were leaving the cinema while talking about the open ending. I have planned to watch this masterpiece several times. I give it 10 stars because it deserves this.

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67 out of 78 people found the following review useful:


Author: GUENOT PHILIPPE ( from France
8 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A true masterpiece this movie. A pure drama, which glues you to your seat, with so intense performances, powerful characters so brilliantly played. Berenice Bejo is here at her best. So is Tahar Rahim. So realistic, it seems the actual daily life of common people. You don't feel it's an actor's play. I have so rarely seen this before. It exists, of course, but it's so rare. I have not seen the previous picture of th Iranian film maker. I have heard it's also a very good feature.

This movie could have a longer length. Two hours and ten minutes are not enough. It could have been a perfect mini series - eight hours for instance. You say to yourself that's a shame that the story ends so soon...

I recommend it.

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59 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

Just seen it in theater, and cannot believe it!

Author: abmindf
2 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Being one of the very few international movies played in the Iranian cinemas, I wish to express my genuine gratitude to every single being involved in this masterpiece. there is no single glow of acting or directing, the movie is a solid work of perfection in all aspects.

Taking the performances into consideration, Bérénice Bejo was truly living the movie. Confrontations of Marie and Ahmad, accurately resembles the cultural and personal differenced between two geographically distant people who used to be in love and still have strong feelings for each other. Naïma's actions shows the true, gray side of human beings which is accompanied with lies and deceit. Lucie is a strangely well-played teenager played by an unbelievably young and talented actress, which deeply reminds us of the sensitivity and dangers of that stage of life.

And last but definitely not least Samir, who is perhaps the main character of the movie, reminds us of the very nature of love. His sensitive character, still not fully capable of emotionally bearing the fact that the mother of his son is now in coma because of a not yet well-reasoned suicide, is struggling in his new love life. the true nature of this dilemma is more and more explained when we find out that Samir is still in love with his ex-wife and blames himself for her suicide.

Not to deny the greatness of Farhadi's "a separation" but as far as quality goes "the past" is a perfect and unrepeatable event in every aspect. The Past touches us deepest in our true feelings. Reminding us of the mistakes we have made in our past.

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49 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Emotional roller-coaster

Author: Ruben Mooijman from Ghent, Belgium
8 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Without any doubt, this film ranks among the best I've seen this year, and maybe even the last few years. It's hard to understand that this film didn't win the Palme d'Or in Cannes. Asghar Farhadi outdid himself with this masterpiece, following up on the Oscar-winning 'A Separation'. The story about a two men, a woman and a girl tangled up in an uncomfortable spiderweb of conflicting feelings and allegiances is an emotional roller-coaster that won't leave anyone indifferent.

The film starts off with a woman at an airport, eagerly waiting for a man to arrive. They meet, they embrace and they run through the rain to their car. The woman takes the wheel and backs out of the parking space. But the rear window is wet and damp, she doesn't have a clear view of what happens behind the car and she almost hits another vehicle. This small scene, that precedes the opening credits, is symbolic for the film: looking back at events in the past, and not getting a clear view of their meaning.

The film doesn't have any flaws or weak points, but two elements stand out. The first is the screenplay. It's extremely clever and well-structured. From beginning to end, the audience gets dripfeeded with little bits of information, so that the viewer can construct the story for himself. Every new bit of information creates new questions, that are answered with new elements, which create new questions, etcetera. In the second half of the film, the revelations get more and more dramatic, and so does the story. The dramatic power of the film increases gradually, which is a great accomplishment, screenplay-wise. Another very strong point of the screenplay is that it tells exactly what you need to know, not more and not less, in a very economical and offhanded way.

The second outstanding feature of the film is the acting. There is not a tiny trace of unnatural or artificial behaviour in the film. The actors are completely believable. In fact it's hard to believe they are actors at all. The only well-known member of the cast is Bérénice Bejo (of 'The Artist' fame), but I must admit I didn't recognize her. Iranian actor Ali Mossafa is great as the sensible outsider who tries to stay reasonable among high-running emotions, but the best performance in my opinion is given by Elyes Aguis, who plays a young boy, upset by the near-death of his mother and the new love interest of his father. The scene with his father in the underground railway station is truly heart-wrenching.

The film is stylistically related to 'A Separation'. It's about how to cope with the failure of a marriage, how the present is destined by things from the past, how crucial events can be interpreted in different ways by different people. At the same time, it's a very different film. For one thing, this is a French film, not Iranian (although there are some Iranian elements). Besides, certain themes from 'A Separation' are absent in 'Le Passé', such as religion and social differences. Other themes, such as the relationship between father and son (and mother and daughter), are more prominent.

I described this film as an emotional roller-coaster, but that doesn't mean it's a 'soft' film, only about feelings. It's just as much a whodunit, where the search for the killer is replaced by the search for the truth. What happened exactly, how did it happen and why? Those are the questions that the audience keeps on asking itself. Spoiler: not all questions are answered - some remain a mystery, for the audience as well as for the protagonists.

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44 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful and Heartbreaking

Author: mary aleali from Iran
10 September 2013

I just came home from seeing the movie, so it's fresh in my mind right now.

the qualities that this movie has: 1. masterfully directed 2. wonderfully written screenplay (the opening, the ending and the exchanged dialogs are all very well- written.very close to cheesy scenes.believable) 3. amazing performances

Most of the people who watch this movie, already have "A Separation" in their mind and are automatically comparing the two movies the entire time of watching.I kind of was doing the same thing. but I stopped that thought and tried to enjoy this and focus on this movie only.I'm glad I did my opinion, the two movies are different.this one has a different theme and atmosphere and it's romantic at times. there was more tension in "A Separation" and almost all scenes were showing a stressful moment.but this movie has some scenes in between that are it might be considered slow by some, which again I think, is because it's being compared with the director's previous work.

I personally think "The past" is a very well-made movie with an interesting story and a must see.I definitely recommend it to all movie lovers.

I give it a 10, cause I can't really think of anything in the film that I was bothered by, or any weaknesses.

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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A great story, simple and realistic.

Author: Sam Thomas from United States
28 October 2013

Drama is beautifully presented through a regular daily life we all have but barely pay enough attention to. The way all characters are involved in the story line, each playing a role in making us look at the story differently is astonishing. Also, the way Farhadi shows us how unreasonable we are when, without knowing a true story, judging, concluding and making decisions and even insisting on them is significant. He is a master, as he showed in his previous works particularly About Eli and A Separation, in combining characters with different mentality and let them complicate a story by their various rationality. Everything is gray in this movie which might be seen lighter or darker by the audience based on what character he or she makes better connection with.

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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

You Won't Be Leaving This Film in Your Past

Author: FilmMuscle from United States
11 December 2013

Wow. Normally, I don't write an analysis for every single film I see, but I honestly found The Past to be one of my favorite films this year. Unfortunately, the fact that it's a foreign film means a lot of people will be missing out on this unforgettable experience. In sum, it's a story about a man who has returned to Paris in order to finalize a divorce with his wife who, in the meantime, is dating another man. Her teenage daughter is in a shambles and frequently stays out late, unable to face her mother and the new man she has brought home with her. Once her true father appears, the situation turns into a heavily intricate predicament. Deceitfully, the film's premise might seem overly simplistic; I assure you it's definitely not but seeing how the most simplistic films strike box office gold anyways, I can't imagine why audiences would gripe about this one?

Now, Americans, in particular, might not be familiar with the prevalence of a slower pace in European cinema. Admittedly, I found myself struggling with some foreign motion pictures (Amour being a recent- and most popular- example) due to their sluggish pacing. In The Past's case, all of its characters are so complex and the writing/storyline so brilliant that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. The grit and rawness is all there as is usual with European cinema and the realism so striking that the movie clearly serves a provocation of much thought and emotion. Disappointedly so, I stumbled upon several comments on the narrative being annoyingly plodding. "Absolutely nothing crazy happens in my first hour and a half of watching!" Some are used to palpable conflict/action, but the action here transpires on an emotional level. The impeccable acting does extremely well to service the script and- obviously- your investment in this intriguing tale.

The morality isn't exactly black-and-white for the viewers to pick and choose which character is the charming, perfect hero of the story. No, you're cast into this setting to study how real human beings would act in a parallel difficulty. If you're not quite too keen on a single character, the events that occur throughout might possibly change your mind, and suddenly, you realize that you understand and sympathize with this devastated and damaged individual as he deals with the problem in a manner that he sees fit. There's just no amount of praise that'd feel sufficient towards the remarkable quality of The Past. This is an experience you likely won't locate all too often in the realms of Hollywood since the plot solely rely on its genuine recounting rather than the implementation of intense sequences in between more dialogue- heavy scenes for the sake of waking up some disinterested attendees. Sometimes, we attend the movie theater for some fantastical fun, and other times, we attend it to explore some incredibly meaningful themes- films that engage us in more personal fashion. All in all, The Past cannot be blatantly disregarded amidst a currently lively time of movies- releasing left and right- and I probably didn't give the film adequate justice, considering my unexpected and brief review, but I wrote it regardless so as to inform the film lovers of a magnificent presence that'll hopefully grace a theater near you sometime soon (if not, just wait for it on DVD/Blu-ray).

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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Farhadi is a Novelist!

Author: sirnatofious from Budapest
30 September 2013

Another Great storyline by Farhadi, I myself always hated movies and loved books, Asghar Farhadi made drama interesting for me, the story telling is amazing in his movies, no character is lost, everything has something to do with the story. All actors are greatly chosen, Berenice Bejo was as amazing as she could be, Samir and Fouad actors were also very good(and they actually looked like each other!), and Ali Mosaffa of course is a wonderful actor! Maybe this wasn't as great as A Separation but it kept me in front of the screen even for credits,.... He is a novelist, a long interesting drama by him again, A Separation, About Elly, Wednesday Fireworks, all amazing, He is in his early forties, We expect a lot more from him!

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

All the Good Things from 'A Separation' is Relived in Le Passe

Author: Kong Ho Meng
5 January 2014

Asghar Farhadi is fast becoming my favourite storyteller of the century. Bringing Le Passe into the screen after his success with A Separation (I haven't watched Elly yet), I am happy to see the same elements (which made Separation memorable) existent in this film.

Both films at the core are focused on family drama, but different challenges altogether. Separation deals with the complexities on a religious viewpoint, and requires swift, high-level decision-making and clever communication skills to undo what could go awry easily in many places. Le Passe's challenge is different in my opinion, it is about the complications on relationship issues - something that is much more relatable to many families out there - that always appear irrational, devastating, and at times result in repercussions through generations.

Farhadi's skills as a filmmaker are unmatched - every single moment in this film is not wasted. His stories are like humanity itself, where things do not appear as they are on the surface and there is always something that more than meets the eye. Similar to Separation, in Le Passe, we see layers upon layers of twists, uncertainties, and agenda unfold and it ends up with the audience knowing that things cannot conclude with a simple solution. These factors, packed with impeccable performances by the lead cast members, are fortunately very very realistic i.e. not over-dramatic or nonsensical(though a lot of shouting war was shown).

The combination of brilliant, intelligent storytelling and impressive delivery of emotional performance is certainly what La vie d'Adèle fail to match - Le Passe is my top film to win the foreign Oscars this year!

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