Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Separation

For years, my interest in Iranian films (mostly from the 1990's) has been fodder for jokes from the peanut gallery led by Chris Larry and my dad. Anytime, I didn't like a movie that much, my dad would remark, "I bet you would have liked it if it had been in Farsi."

I saw this film with Matt Moline who had no knowledge of the Chris Larry ridicule of all things Iranian (cinematic wise at least) based, But still, he knew. He just knew! The first thing he said when the movie was over was something to the effect of "Wow, Chris Larry would have loooved that movie."

But even though Matt was kidding, there really is nothing to dislike about this movie. The haters need to stop hating! Think of this is as the Iranian Kramer vs. Kramer and you get the idea. Then again, I haven't seen that movie since when it was in the theaters (speaking of which, why were my parents taking me to see that movie when I was six-years-old?) so I don't remember that much about it. But I would guess that it didn't involve all the intricacies that this film does with ease.

There's a bit of a Rashomon kind of thing where you aren't sure quite who to believe as events unfold. All of the characters are well-written and three dimensional. It starts as a simple story of a marriage in trouble but it is also about familial responsibility, tension between the classes, a father-daughter relationship, the Iranian court system, sexism in Iranian society, and religion. But it never feels didactic, preachy, or (most importantly) boring. It is entertaining and downright captivating from the first frame to the last. This is a shoo-in for Best Foreign Language Film and should have been nominated for Best Picture outright.

Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Film Forum

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