Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) [2011]


Background:
Release Date: December 30 2011 (USA)
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi
Written By: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Peymon Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Kimia Hosseini, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi
Duration: 123 minutes
In a Nutshell:
Nader (played by Peymon Moadi) and Simin (played by Leila Hatami) are a couple living together in Iran. Simin wants to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their daughter, Termeh (played by Sarina Farhadi) but Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father behind. Simin then decides to move out of the house to live with her parents, so Nader hires a maid, Razieh (played by Sareh Bayat), to take care of his father. An arguement between Nader and Razieh leads to a terrible accident and court case. Things get even more heated-up when Razieh's hot-tempered husband, Hojjat (played by Shahab Hosseini), enters the fold.
Thumbs Up:
+ Compelling story that is both emotionally engaging and mentally stimulating
+ Deeply rich and conflicted characters that are bought to life by powerful performances
+ Plenty of twists, turns, and surprises
+ Despite the cultural differences, the story and characters are extremely familiar and relatable
Thumb Down:
- External factor here only: Its limited release and that it took so long to reach my country!


The Verdict Is In:
In the world of blogosphere, Inspired Ground which in run by Andina is one movie site that I make frequent visits to. Not only is it a lovely site, but I also love the tag-line of her blog: "Good Movies Entertain, Great Movies Inspire". The reason why I love that catchphrase so much is because is it embodies what us cinephiles and movie-geeks seek in a film. We just don't want to be entertained during the movie, but also be effected in someway after the credits roll. This can either be by an emotional engagement or by intellectual impression. Well this Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film from Iran has succeeded in providing me with both outcomes.

There is a lot of complexity in each of the major characters and they're arguments and conflicts really does immerse the audience into the story. If the culture seems foreign to some, the people and their situations are not, in fact they are extremely relatable. Even if we have our own view on the issues presented, we can still understand every different motif that drives each character and why they have taken them. For example if at first Simin seems cold for wanting Nader to leave his sick father behind, there is a scene between her and her father-in-law which shows how much she cares for him and how it pains her to be making that decision. Also the fact that her Alzheimer-suffering father-in-law can't even remember Nader, his own son's name, but yet remember hers reveals a lot. Director and screen writer Asghar Farhadi also excels in his storytelling. Just when we think we made our verdict on the guilty party, more information and twists are revealed to change our mind.


As I wrote in part 1 of my 20 favourite movies of 2011, there were still a lot of films at that time which I hadn't seen but would have liked to when I created the list, and this film is one of them. Take Shelter, The Artist, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, HugoThe Descendants, and Senna would all probably make it into my revised list with most of them even in the Top 10. But A Separation would very likely be my NUMBER ONE pick of the 2011! It is no wonder that this masterpiece has universal praise and currently having a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I truly believe that the SINGLE reviewer that gave it a rotten rating is trying to troll us all.
Rating:
9.5 out of 10

5 comments:

  1. Nice review, Asrap! And thanks a lot for the mention! :) The tagline was created by emotional engagement, but after a while, with some movies I watch overtime, it gets intellectual. Finding those movies should feel like finding a treasure!
    A Separation is definitely a great movie, one thing I didn't like from it was the confusing twist in the end. But overall, it's a top notch movie. I think it's just a matter of time before national TV broadcast it. Glad you loved it!

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  2. Thanks. I really do love this film, although discovered it pretty late. And yes, I love that tagline of yours!

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  3. Forgot another thing, glad you mentioned the ending. If you wait a little bit, there's an after-credits scene.... Nick Fury appears and recruits Termeh as the new member of The Avengers. Okay, lame Marvel joke there, haha.

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  4. Great review! Glad you enjoyed the film so much, I liked it too, though I don't feel like watching it again. It didn't stay with me, for whatever reason. I gave it strong 8/10, though.

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  5. I know. Some movies with rather heavy themes do have that effect. They are tremendously entertaining yet we don't prefer re-watching them often.

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