The Stoning of Soraya M.

"Very Good"

The Stoning of Soraya M. Review


Despite a slightly simplistic filmmaking style, this true story retains real force in its depiction of human cruelty in the name of religion. It's not easy to watch such horrific events, but it's so important that it cries out to be seen.

In 1986, French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam (Caviezel) is driving through Iran when his car breaks down in an isolated village. Called "crazy" by the men, Zahra (Aghdashloo) corners him and recounts the brutal events of the preceding day. Defenceless in a society ruled by Sharia law, Zahra's niece Soraya (Marno) was the subject of a conspiracy led by her husband (Negahban), who wanted to marry a 14-year-old. To do this he had to gain the support of the local convict-turned-mullah (Pourtash) and the weak-willed mayor (Diaan).

The series of events is deeply unsettling as it vividly portrays an entire social system designed to control women, down to the fact that women always have the burden of proof in an adultery case, whether it's against her or her husband. Not only does this infuse society with flagrant injustice, but it allows men to give in to their darkest impulses, abusing power shamelessly and indulging sometimes gleefully in unspeakable cruelty.

The problem with the movie is that the story and themes are so potent that the filmmakers forget to include shadings that might make it more trustworthy.

There isn't a single man in this village with enough backbone to stand up to the obvious evil. And every male character is a type: either a nasty thug, a manipulative control-freak or a weak-willed nice guy manipulated into participating in something wrong. For all the deeply felt religious fervour, no one stands up for what's right.

Except of course Zahra, and no one listens to her. Aghdashloo gives a strong central performance, vividly making us feel the oppression of the law, the men and even the clothing. Zahra seems like the only person who sees what's really going on, which is probably accurate since she's also the one who got the story out. But it's Marno's heart-wrenching performance as Soraya that engages us with the events and delivers the potent emotional resonance. And it's the raw power of Soraya's story that makes this film so vitally important.



The Stoning of Soraya M.

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th October 2009

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Distributed by: Roadside Attractions

Production compaines: Mpower Pictures, Roadside Attractions, Prime Meridian Pctures, Fallen Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 36

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh

Starring: as Zahra, as Soraya M., as Freidoune, as Ali, Ali Pourtash as Mullah, David Diaan as Ebrahim, Parviz Sayyad as Hashem, Vida Ghahremani as Bita, Vachik Mangassarian as Soraya's Father, Maggie Parto as Vo, Prasanna Puwanarajah as Revolutionary Guard, Bita Sheibani as Leila, Yousef Shweihat as Ringmaster

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.