Writer/Director: Asghar Farhadi
Running Time: 119 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG
UK Release Date: 1st July 2011 (limited)
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd July 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This Iranian film plots the destruction of a family after the mother decides she wants to leave the country. For me, it gave a fascinating insight into the operation of the Iranian legal system as well as everyday family life there. I had better warn those that fear the subtitle that they are very much in evidence here. Critically acclaimed, it won the 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
When Simin wants to leave the country she gets all the paperwork, visa’s etc sorted out but there’s one stumbling block. Her husband, Nader, doesn’t want to leave; his father has Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t want to leave him. There’s also their eleven year old daughter, Termeh, to consider. Of course this causes much friction between the couple and Simin eventually leaves to stay with her parents, leaving her daughter with Nader. Since he has to work, he hires a woman, Razieh, to look after his father while he is out at work. She seems a little unsure; it’s a long commute and she doesn’t feel he is paying her enough, but she stays on. When something happens to Razieh (I can’t say just what – spoilers), this throws everything into turmoil. Her husband, Hojjat, wasn’t even aware she was working and it all ends up in court, bringing Simin back on the scene, concerned about her daughter. But how will it resolve itself?... I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Iranian Secret Division) will be forcing me to live by the teachings of the Quran (again).
Very well made with the look and feel of, what we Brits call, a ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’. Lots of very naturalistic dialogue showing people how they actually are. Great performances all round, particularly from Peyman Moadi as Nader, Leila Hatami as Simin, Sareh Bayat as Razieh and Shahab Hosseini as Hojjat. I should also give a special mention for the young Sarina Farhadi, who played the daughter Termeh with great feeling.
Although it was very good I did have a couple of problems with it. First of all it was very heavy on dialogue which made keeping up with the subtitles a little tricky. More than once I had to go back so I could properly understand a passage. Secondly, I did find it a little too long, it has quite a slow pace but I felt certain things could have been moved along slightly quicker. By the end I was looking at my watch… never a good sign. Having said that I did find it quite compelling with an interesting insight into the legal system of a country we know little about here in the West. Over all, despite these few shortcomings, still a worthy watch with some excellent performances… RECOMMENDED.
My Score 8.3/10
IMDb Score: 8.6/10 (based on 56,371 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 95/100: (Based on 41 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 93/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 14,327 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Nader: Don't you ever think why you wanna leave this country? 'Cause every time you face a trouble, you give in. Rather than confront it.
Simin: Sorry, it hasn't been a week since I left, and look what happened!
Termeh: Didn't you say it's not serious?
Nader: It got serious.