A Separation (2011)

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A Separation Movie Review

A Separation is a 2011 Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Peyman Moaadi and Leila Hatami. It is one of the best films of the decade.

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What is wrong is wrong,

no matter who said it or where it’s written

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A Separation Movie Review

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It follows a divorce of a middle-class couple with a child. The husband also has a father with Alzheimer’s decease and when he hires a woman to take care of him, trouble ensues and the next thing you see is the two families suing each other. That is a lot of plot for one singular movie, but the film is so incredibly well written that it managed to convey its themes and execute all of its storylines perfectly.

The conflict that arises with this other family may seem implausible at first, but it actually could happen and the film is so clever and sophisticated that it showcases the problems from each and every side. It doesn’t give us easy answers and to whom we should point our fingers as there are no easy answers in life as each situation is unique and complex and everybody has their own issues and point of view.

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A Separation Movie Review

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That storyline is immensely complex and perfectly written, but the separation story line is also fantastic and it ends with that perfect, unforgettable sequence where the two get divorced and Therme has to choose with whom she is going to live. It just shows how great sensibilities Farhadi has as a director as the ending is ambiguous and it doesn’t show you who is the one she chose. That isn’t important as both scenarios are tragic and thus the film ended on a perfectly ambiguous, tragic note that stays with you long after you’ve seen it.

A Separation explores a variety of themes. It showcases how stubborn men can be in a very truthful manner, but it also touches upon the relationships between the two sexes as well as different classes. The highlight for me is their take on religion as evidenced by the character of Razieh. Her confession is triggered by religion and it was great seeing how positive religion could be for once. And of course the daughter being disappointed in her father is very well shown. It showcases how kids view life in a much more honest, but simplistic manner and how their view of their parents is so great that when it shatters, it can be very painful. Loved it.

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A Separation Movie Review

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Everyone here did a terrific job; each and every one of its actors and actresses delivered. Peyman Moaadi is fantastic in the main role. Nader is a difficult man and he portrayed him so well. Leila Hatami is also terrific as Simin even though she doesn’t appear as much. Shahab Hosseini is terrific as very unstable, unhappy Hodjat and of course Sareh Bayat did a phenomenal job in her very tragic and complex role as Razieh truly is one of the character highlights here. Sarina Farhadi as Termeh is also superb and for such a young age, she truly delivered an outstanding, powerful performance. This ensemble cast surely is top-notch.

A Separation features terrific cinematography and especially editing as it is so tightly edited and so deftly paced that it really makes a difference. The film is very touching to watch and such a serious, hard-hitting, realistic and complex human drama which is still constantly riveting and intense to watch not only owing to its strengths in terms of characterization, emotion and plot, but also because it is so perfectly paced and edited with not a single wasted or rushed scene.

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A Separation Movie Review

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It honestly flies by how interesting it is. The dialogue is also stellar in each and every scene – grounded in reality and terrific. And of course the direction from Asghar Farhadi is brilliant. He is one of the best directors working today as his films are just so powerful and undeniably impressive and I am so glad that his film won an Oscar, but it should have received nominations in bigger categories too. It is the pinnacle of Iranian cinema.

With complex themes beautifully explored, amazing performances across the board and many hard-hitting, powerful scenes, A Separation is also very tightly edited and superbly directed by Asghar Farhadi who is one of the best directors working today. This drama is difficult but also essential to watch fueled by a brilliant script and fantastic dialogue. It is a very complex film which doesn’t give us easy answers, but portrays life as it is – messy and complicated. A Separation truly is one of the best films of the entire decade.

My Rating – 5

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The Salesman (2016)

The Salesman Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman is a 2016 Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti. It is one of the year’s best films.

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They ruined this city once.

They built it again and now this is it

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I found the film’s premise to be awfully specific, yet it is executed in the best way possible and it leads to a lot of fantastic and thought-provoking conversations. The film also very smoothly transitions from a family drama to an almost thriller-like movie with an intense scenario. It does feel like two different movies, but both are great and again the transition is very good and that helps lead to a well structured, polished film.

The characters are terrific and so well developed and they feel real owing to great characterization and a smart script, but mostly because the acting is so great. This is easily one of the year’s best acted movies with two of the best performances given here. Shahab Hosseini is amazing. He is so competent and subtle in a very difficult role. But Taraneh Alidoosti is also fantastic as she sold all of those emotional scenes. The two carry the movie on their shoulders with two masterful performances.

But of course Asghar Farhadi is the biggest reason why this film works. His direction here is probably the year’s best and again a proof that he is one of the best directors working today. Such a superb, visionary director. And the fact that he wrote the screenplay too only further underscores his immense talents.

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The Salesman features fantastic dialogue. It is so realistic in its conversations as it feels as if watching real people talk. The dialogue is both realistic and clever as the film deals with a lot of thought-provoking ideas. The man’s wife is attacked and he yells at her that she is overly paranoid and that she needs to get over her fears. Is she too paranoid or is he overly harsh to her wife in need of emotional support?

But of course the major question is asked in the film’s last, prolonged sequence. He finds the attacker, but he turns out to be old. He wants to humiliate him in front of his family, but eventually gives up on that idea. But because the man has heart problems, he eventually collapses and the film ends ambiguously. He committed a crime, but he apologized and Emad still tortured him psychologically and thus he eventually hurt him.

 That whole sequence is so intense and so difficult to watch and sometimes even unpleasant, but it still showcases how strong the film is as a whole that it can get to you and produce such an emotional reaction as it did to me personally. That is because all of these people feel real and also relatable and even though the situation is difficult to happen in real life, it led to so many interesting discussions that it was worth it. The conflict that arose between the two spouses is strong enough on its own, but the whole attacker/cheater aspect led to this film being such a richly layered, incredibly sophisticated drama.

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The editing is fantastic and it is one of the year’s tightest and most polished features as it is never rushed or slow. The use of the famous play by Arthur Miller is also solid and well incorporated into the narrative. The film is well filmed, well scored and so well scripted and directed. It is one of those movies that are difficult to watch, but are worth it in the long run as you end up with one of the best foreign films of 2016 and one of the most complex and smartest recent films from any country. Farhadi is a talent to watch and I am looking forward to his next film.

The Salesman is very difficult and even unpleasant to watch at times, but it is worth it as it is such a powerful, deep and richly layered picture that fascinated me and engaged me emotionally. The performances from Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti are absolutely fantastic and the direction from Asghar Farhadi is simply brilliant. He is definitely one of the best and most talented directors working today. This film is so well written with great dialogue, but with the last, prolonged sequence being the highlight; it is complex and thought-provoking in its difficult situation. It is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2016.

My Rating – 4.5

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