Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Film Review: A Separation (2011)

A Separation (Review)
Iran/2011
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Amidst a separation, Nader wants to stay with his father who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, while his wife, Simin, wants to leave the country with their daugher, Termeh. When Termeh decides to stay with her father, Simin moves in with her mother and Nader hires help for the care of his father. But, the help, with too much on her hands and mind, brings Nader into a nightmare...

A Separation is a deeply compelling and intense drama. Although we witness a relationship at the peak of crumbling, we are still able to witness the actual avalanche and aftermath. Both parents are equally stubborn, and their reasons for staying and leaving are equally selfish; the story doesn't demonize either parent, and I like this approach. Instead, we are fully involved in the suspenseful situation at hand; a complaint that shakes up two families, and a fight for justice. The film subtly builds up a strong message regarding separations and the deep impact it has on the children - her role may be minor compared to the rest, but Termeh has the most impact in the long run. In fact, because of Termeh, the film ends on a note of pure anticipation and anxiety - through the credits and all.

A very relatable story, indeed, and an immensely entertaining story, as well. Even as a drama, A Separation has more thrills and intensity than most thrillers and action films today; add in a compelling plot and theme, and you have an incredibly effective film. What is even more surprising, and impressive, is the fact that the film relies solely on its dialogue; through its dialogue, A Separation creates edge-of-your-seat conversations and intense confrontations. And, despite a 2 hour runtime, the film felt like it was over before it started - ferociously paced and engaging.

Peyman Moaadi plays Nader with a fantastic performance; a hard-headed and stubborn, yet caring and calm character captured perfectly. Leila Hatami plays Simin and, although with less screen time, manages to deliver an equally impressive and believable performance. Together, Moaadi and Hatami create a realistic relationship - one that will be easily recognizable for those of us that have experienced this situation first hand. Asghar Farhadi writing and direction is extremely well-done, capturing every emotion and creating a compelling film. Music is rarely heard in this film as most of the emotional evocation is accomplished through the dialogue, but I believe only during the credits do we hear a beautiful, moving piece.

Overall, A Separation is a compelling drama, an incredibly engaging and entertaining film. With incredible performances and writing, A Separation is a film worth watching more than once. I strongly recommend a purchase for fans of film in general.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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