Review: A Separation
Breaking up is hard to do.
A Separation is Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s newest triumph. While initially coming across as a typical story between two lovers who have fallen apart, A Separation manages to question religion and pride while providing a captivating mystery. The performances are strong from top to bottom and it speaks to everyone regardless of what country they hail from. The film received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear.The film is the official Iranian candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
Nader (Peyman Maadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) have come to a point in their marriage where things just aren’t working anymore. Simin is looking for more rights, freedom, and respect; things she can’t find in Iran or from her husband. She is also concerned about their 11-year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), growing up under the strict Iranian government. Nader is non-committal, telling Simin she can do what she wants but he won’t sign for the divorce and he won’t leave because his father is sick with Alzheimer’s disease.
Simin leaves her home to make a point, but Nader fully believes she is just bluffing. He continues his life as usual, but he needs someone to take care of his ill father while he is not at home. He hires a woman, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), that he believes is capable for the job based on Simin’s recommendation. Razieh may or may not have told Nader she was pregnant, but that will take things spiraling out of control.
A Separation is a great cinematic achievement even when realizing the strict laws in Iran that govern freedom in art. A Separation shows two struggling families, whether it be financially or romantically, questioning the very faith they believe in. The actors flawlessly portray this with their bouts of grief, anger, and suffering.
At first blush, A Separation may come across as a film everyone is championing just because of the country it hails from. Make no mistake, A Separation is a fantastic effort, regardless of it’s origins. It’s a shame foreign films are still segregated into their own categories, since A Separation is one of the finest films of the year and should be included in any accolades for best picture.
4.5 Hearts / 5