Movie Review: “A Separation” (2011)

A Separation

Title: A Separation (Nader and Simin)
Year: 2011
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

This movie was opened with a debate scene between Nader (Payman Maadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) in an Iranian court regarding divorce request submitted by Simin. Simin was willing to go abroad to have better life opportunities for their daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), while Nader, despite the fact that visa and all documents were ready, didn’t want to go because he felt obligated to take care of his father who suffered from Alzhaimer. Simin, who believed the only way for them to solve the issue was only through divorce, moved and stayed at her mom’s home. Forced by situation, Nader then hired Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of their home and also his father while he and Termeh were away for working and studying at school.

Incident with Nader’s father in the first day made her felt uncomfortable to continue working at Nader’s house. However since she needed the money for her family, she decided to take again the job. Few days later, another incident took place and made Nader filled by rage. Triggered by anger, Nader then fired Razieh and pushed her out his house which caused her fell into stairs. Unfortunately that incident continued a bigger problem: Razieh had miscarriage and accused Nader to be the responsible party. Razieh’s husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), an unemployed and depressed guy with lot of debts, could not accept that fact and confronted Nader and his family. In the middle of chaotic situation, questions were popped out: Who was lying? Who was telling the truth? Did Nader really cause Razieh’s miscarriage? What was the solution of that situation?

I picked this movie coincidentally due to my curiosity after reading its short review when I was hunting for DVD yesterday. Family issue has always been an interesting topic to be addressed in movies. This movie showed us a real-life situation of a family that could be happened to anyone and anywhere. The twist occurred due to fact that it happened in Iran, a place where religions and cultures played a big role in everyone’s daily life. You would be suprised how some things could be interpreted differently by considering religions and cultures.

For example, Razieh was hesitated in changing clothes of Nader’s dad when he soiled himself. In modern culture nowadays, that won’t be a big deal especially if you speak in the name of humanity. But for Razieh, a religious lady who was someone’s wife and not a muhrim with Nader’s dad, that activity could be considered as a sin. As a moslem, I could relate totally to this scene and that actually makes sense. Similar other conflicts occurred due to the same issue were beautifully expressed in this movie.

Payman Maadi played Nader charmingly in this movie. As a husband, he tried to keep his pride as a leader of the family instead of his wife. As a dad, he wanted to protect his daughter, but in the same time showed her that he could handle the situation without her being involved in it. As a child, he loved his dad and tried his best to take care of him despite the fact that his dad was not in his best condition. For me personally, Payman was the heart of this movie.

In the end, I can say it was my best first Iranian movie I ever watched. The story was simple yet captivating, and well executed. Each character fitted his or her role well and together building the story solidly. This movie gave us good interpretation about family issues and how sometimes pride or responsibility affects our perception in taking any decision.

I would rate 5 from 5 stars. Highly recommended to watch 🙂

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