Nader’s refusal to allow his wife Simin and their daughter to leave Iran on account of his father’s failing health initiates a complicated series of events as Simin tries unsuccessfully to divorce him. He hires a young woman named Razieh to look after his father, but things go wrong.
Asghar Farhadi took home the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear, and his first Academy Award, for this intricate relationship drama, a film that disentangles the lives its two protagonists have had together. Deeply involving, and as chaotic and complicated as life itself, A Separation is a triumph.
Every once in a while, these characters seem to crash against each other, and the film explodes along with them — gaining urgency, power, danger as it moves relentlessly along, never quite allowing you to see where it might go next.
The movie works in several layers. It could be seen as a commentary on the everyday living of the Iranians, but the movie also could be understood as a metaphoric story about the fate of a country: The dad is its past, the daughter is its future. Other characters represent different layers of the Iranian society. The movie is a very successful narration of this mixture of realism and metaphors.
Glass panels and doors visually imply the empty spaces created by communication barriers as ongoing rifts lead to further isolation. Everything about the inner suffering of a child listening to fighting parents is expressed in the girls' solemn looks at each other in the penultimate scene, looks that say "I know, I get it, I get you".
A universal film that seeks the truth. The comparisons to Rashomon aren't too far off! Farhadi's drama has wonderful performances by all but it's the screenplay that hits the hardest; allowing us to empathize with both sides (sometimes switching sides in the same scene).
Superb. Lived up to the hype. Heart-breaking. I wonder if the little Termeh chose her dad (what a damned stubborn man he was) to "guarantee" that their folks could get back together over choosing her mom which would have "killed" her dad, leaving him alone with his ill father and without a wife. I mean it's hard to take sides: divorce is evil. The wife was right all along but that sick grandad hovering over them :(
Just brilliant. Possibly the most mesmerizing domestic drama I've seen, Meditations on truth, righteousness, ego, law, honour and faith all wound up in multi-layered and complex storytelling that never feels forced or contrived. Brilliant, subtle and refrained performances from everyone involved. 5 stars
Intense and gripping - the Golden Bear is well deserved.There's more to the film than a simple separation. The layer of modern vs traditional Iran is subtle and yet extremely powerful. It's not even so much about the parents. It's an astonishing account of the degree of suffering of children and their devotion to the people they look up to, their faith, their love. Very thought-provoking, five stars!
The hype is well-deserved. To really understand the topical social relevance of this film, one must first watch Dariush Mehrjui's 1996 film, Leila, which also stars the lovely Leila Hatami. The place of the wife in the Iranian middle-class families has changed drastically in the last 15 years, and Hatami's striking physical maturation over the same period embodies this transformation.