Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

A Separation

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on February 8, 2012 at 11:35 PM


Asghar Farhadi


IDEA:   An Iranian husband and wife wish to divorce, but things become exceedingly complicated when the man is charged with murder and a ferocious legal battle erupts.

BLURB:   A compelling legal drama framed by a married couple's split, in which the separation of the title refers to far more than the simple divergence of two people, but to the splintered gulfs between classes, genders, families, and personal and societal principles. Farhadi’s script is masterful, weaving throughout every heated conversation and character action layers of deeply rooted social subtexts; if the violently effusive dialogue is initially dizzying, its fullness of theme and its sheer brevity is ultimately astonishing. Not a moment goes to waste that doesn’t in some way comment on the gruelingly complex moral shadings and ethical struggles that inhibit these characters, and just the same, no character is left without dimension or arc. All of them are people caught inside existential quandaries, their intensely subjective life experiences providing no objective answers for the inflexible rules of law. They may reside in Iran, but the situation is universal: being at the hands of a society not programmed to empathize with inherent human ambiguities.

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