A Separation

"Essential"

A Separation Review


This award-winning film from Iran is a stunning piece of work, beautifully telling a raw human story with expert writing, direction, photography, editing and acting. It's so hugely involving that it's impossible to get it out of your head afterwards.

When his wife Simin (Hatami) leaves him, Nader (Moaadi) hires Razieh (Bayat), a woman he barely knows, to help look after his senile father (Shahbazi).

Struggling to care for both his father and his 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Farhadi), who's studying for her exams, Nader is thrown completely off balance when Razieh lets him down. And things get worse when her volatile husband Hojjat (Hosseini) enters the scene, accusing Nader of violence against his wife. This has ramifications for everyone in Nader's life, as integrity and honesty are put on trial.

Filmmaker Farhadi tells this story without flinching; there is no music or sentimentality to ratchet up the emotion. Instead we feel every moment through the eyes of these realistic characters: suffering from each insult, recoiling from each assault, clinging to every expression of compassion. Watching this film is a full-on experience, as we ricochet through the events, feeling every emotional blow as if it hit us square on the nose.

And the acting is flawless, with each character conveying a complexity we rarely see on screen. Moaadi's Nader is ostensibly the hero of the piece, abandoned by his wife and accused by this stranger. But he's not actually any better than anyone else; he lies when he has to, and he refuses to play the game just as everyone does when faced with a legal system that seems tilted against them. Meanwhile, Bayat and Hosseini add complexity to the shadier characters, much more religious than Nader and Simin and also more prone to cultural issues that prevent the truth from coming out.

Watching Razieh blatantly lie to the judge makes our blood boil, but Farhadi has some surprises up his sleeve that reveal our own hypocrisy along with the characters' imperfections. This is bold, urgent, staggeringly skilful filmmaking that cuts right to the core of our own values. It also shows that Farhadi's previous film, the excellent About Elly..., was merely a warning shot. This one positions him as one of the most gifted filmmakers working today.



A Separation

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 123 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 16th March 2011

Box Office USA: $7.1M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 148 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Producer: Asghar Farhadi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.