A Separation (2011)
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
Nader (Payman Maadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) argue about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. However, Simin is determined to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter.
When his wife Simin (Leila Hatami) leaves him, Nader ('Peyman Moadi') hires a young woman Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his suffering father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi). But he doesn't know his new maid is not only pregnant, but also working without her unstable husband's (Shahab Hosseini) permission. Soon, Nader finds himself entangled in a web of lies manipulation and public confrontations.
An Iranian couple has a tough decision to make: Simin wants the family to live abroad to better the chances in life for their only daughter, Termeh. Nader, however, insists on staying in Iran to take care of his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. The argument leaves the couple but one choice: divorce. But the consequences may go far beyond anything they had ever expected...
Nader and Simin, a middle class Iranian couple with an eleven year old daughter named Termeh, are on the verge of divorce. They love each other, but Simin, with exit visas for the family only good for the next forty days, wants to leave Iran permanently to a better life especially for Termeh. Nader, however, refuses to go as his father suffers from Alzheimer's and Nader will not leave him behind despite he probably not knowing who Nader is most of the time. As such, Simin moves out of their home and back in with her own parents. Termeh, however, stays with her father as she sees this action as a way to bring her parents back together. As Nader's father requires around the clock supervision, Nader, on a suggestion from Simin about a family member of an acquaintance, hires a man named Hojjat to be his father's caregiver when he's at work during the day. However, on Hojjat's first day in this position, he can't make it. Instead, Hojjat's wife, Razieh, with their infant daughter Somayeh, shows up to do the work as they desperately need the money. A few days in with Razieh having so far done all the work for an absent Hojjat, an incident occurs between Nader and Razieh, the results from which threaten both their standing in the community. With their respective spouses and children among others thrown into the mix, each individual has made up his or her mind about what is the best thing to do for his or herself, which is often at cross purposes to the others. These decisions take into consideration justice, humanity and/or individual well-being.
- The new movie of Asghar Farhadi is a melodrama that captures the theme of responsibility and honesty as well as love, religiosity, and sacrifice. The movie starts with an argument for divorce between Simin (Leila Hatami) and Nader (Peyman Moaadi) before a judge in an Iranian court. Through their argument, the main story of the movie becomes clear for us so that we become aware that Nader and Simin have been planning to move to a European country to provide better opportunities, as Simin claims in the court, for their only daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).
Although Nader was interested in the idea of living abroad a few months earlier, he refuses then because of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) who suffers from Alzheimer. When, in the court, Simin says to Nader "your father does not even know you" Nader answers "but I know him." Here, the responsibility of a child toward his father is very tangible. During the movie, Simin insists on the idea of going abroad; when Nader refuses, she believes there is no other way for them except to divorce. Because Simin does not live with her husband and her daughter anymore, Nader decides to hire a reliable and responsible nurse for his father. Therefore, Razieh (Sareh Bayat) enters their house as the nurse.
On the first day of her arrival, Nader's father forgot to say that he needed to go to rest room. Therefore, Razieh, as a woman who really believes in strict rules of religion, does not like to come again to take care of Nader's father. Actually, she does not want to help an old man to go to rest room and even wash him. On a second thought, Razieh agrees to become his nurse again just because she needs the money. One day Nader's father leaves the house without Razieh noticing at first, and she finds him on the other side of the street nearly in the line of traffic. The next day, Nader comes early and sees that his father has fallen from his bed, arm tied to a post, and does not move. He thinks his father just passed away. However, he is still alive and becomes OK after a few minutes. Nader becomes very angry of what he calls " Razieh's irresponsibility" because she left the house and there is no sign of her. When she comes back, Nader brawls with her and pushes her out of the house and Razieh falls on the stairs that seemingly causes the miscarriage of her baby and a new challenge for Nader and Simin appears.
Nader is accused of killing Razieh's baby intentionally. Razieh claims that Nader pushed her though he knew she was pregnant; Nader denies it. In the court, Razieh's husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who is a nervous man and does not have any job and has many debts, fights several times with Nader and insults him harshly. Termeh knows that his father is lying because she is sure that Nader heard the story of Razieh's pregnancy when she was talking about it with Termeh's tutor, Miss Ghahraii (Merila Zare'i). She is right! Nader and Simin agree to give some money to them to finish the story democratically. However, Nader insists on the idea of being sure whether he was guilty or not. That is why Nader asks Razieh to swear if he is guilty of the abortion of her baby. Although Hodjat really wants to get the money, Razieh refuses to swear because she thinks she is not sure whether the abortion of her baby was because of Nader or the accident that she had the day before. She reveals that a car hit her the day Nader's father left the house when she rushed to cross the street to save him, and that she experienced pain that night. Due to her religious beliefs, she does not want to get blood money from Nader when she is not sure whether he is guilty or not.
Finally, Nader and Simin agree to let Termeh choose her destiny by saying whether she prefers to live with her father or her mother. Like "about Eli", the previous film of Farhadi, the ending of the story is not clear and it is up to the audience to guess whether Termeh wants to live with her father or her mother.
There are scenes in the movie that are very impressive: When Nader is washing his father's body, while crying deeply, it shows us how a child loves his father no matter he is too old or sick. In addition, when Termeh asks his father about the reason that he told a big lie to the court, we can understand once more how children monitor their parents' behavior as their reliable role models. In addition, when Nader's father holds Simin's hand strongly which shows that he knows her well and no one, even Razieh, can look after him like the way that his daughter-in-law did in the past.
"Nader and Simin, a Separation" really deserves to be considered as one of the top 250 movies ever made. "Nader and Simin, a Separation" is a good example of a film which can help people to revise their ideas about important concepts like responsibility, love and sacrifice.
Amin Davoodi from Kermanshah, Iran (firstname.lastname@example.org)