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Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (2011)
Leading up to the Oscars, I like to give my attention to the films nominated in the main categories. Foreign Language is usually a favourtie of mine since foreign films seem to capture the genuineness of human character so much better than ordinary American films. A separation is no exception.
Although different movies in their own respect, I find myself compelled to compare this movie to Oscar nominated "The Descendants." The story and plot may be different, but they are both character driven and accordingly a comparison is necessary, especially considering that the quality of character study in both movies has considerable disparity. In short, A separation succeeded in every respect The Descendants failed.
The Descendants felt like it forced comedy into a drama, which did not fit well at all. Although comedy may stem from drama itself, having it as a separate theme in the movie was a big downfall in my opinion.
A separation, in comparison, focuses on drama. It is a much more realistic portrayal of human character and potential actions and choices they may make. Occasional comedic comments are made, but not to the extent that it is "comedy" per se, but rather you laugh at the situation itself. For instance, in one scene, the father tells his daughter that what her teachers at school have taught her is wrong (from an academic perspective, not moral). The daughter replies that she must however write the "wrong" answer in the test otherwise she would be deducted marks off her paper, to which the father replies "let them." It's a moment where we get to both smirk at the situation and also understand the sense of beliefs and values of the family.
The true gem of this movie lies within its script, plot and acting. The acting is superb. The script is marvelous. And the plot evolves in such a manner that it questions our very own beliefs of what is right and wrong in one of the most complicated scenarios ever created in a realistic drama. I have never seen so much "gray" in a film. The right and wrong actions of characters are blurred to such an extent we end up sympathizing with them all. That is the beauty of this film. No one is better than the other. Everyone is wrong and justified at the same time. Everyone is human.
I will be showing this movie to as many people as I can. I was truly touched.