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A Separation 2011 PG-13 CC

A SEPARATION is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage and explores a married couple who are faced with a difficult decision, to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimers.

Starring:
Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami
Runtime:
2 hours, 3 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International, Mystery
Director Asghar Farhadi
Starring Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami
Supporting actors Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zare'i, Ali-Asghar Shahbazi, Babak Karimi, Kimia Hosseini, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh, Sahabanu Zolghadr, Mohammadhasan Asghari, Shirin Azimiyannezhad, Hamid Dadju, Mohammad Ebrahimian, Samad Farhang, Ali Fattahi, Nafise Ghodrati, Roya Hosseini, Seyyed Jamshid Hosseini
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jiang Xueqin on January 27, 2012
The Iranian film "A Separation" will most likely win this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and has already won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film as well as best film at the Berlin International Film Festival. "A Separation" is writer and director Asghar Farhadi's fifth film, and it's the one that will establish him as one of the world's most brilliant storytellers.

The title ostensibly refers to an urban middle class couple who have separated from each other; English teacher Simin has gotten a visa to emigrate to the West, but her husband Nader, who works in a bank, refuses to leave his father who has Alzheimer's. They have an 11-year-old daughter Termeh (played by the director's daughter) who doesn't want her parents to leave each other, and so chooses to stay with her father, knowing that Simin won't leave Iran without her.

But the title also refers to the rural-urban, traditional-modern, moral-utilitarian divides that coalesce to form the main conflict in this movie. After Simin leaves to live with her parents, Nader hires a villager named Razieh to look after his father. Looking after a male patient with dementia is too much for the pregnant Razieh, who must commute three hours to work. When Nader's father soils his pants, the profoundly pious Razieh has a crisis of faith, and seeks religious counsel to see if God will permit her to change the poor man's pants. She's underpaid and exhausted, but ultimately she's bound to the family's misfortunes by her own: her husband has lost his job as a cobbler, has to take medication for the consequent depression, and is in and out of debtors' prison. One day, Nader returns home to find Razieh absent and his father tied to the bed, and he becomes so distraught and angry that he fires Razieh by pushing her out the door.
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This is a masterful, unblinking, documentary-like description of the incredibly delicate relationships that exist between the members of any family. It should appeal to any adult who has ever a) been married; b) been a parent; c) cared for an elderly person; d) had a serious difference of opinion with a mate; e) tried to be a good person and do the right thing but was thwarted by circumstances and dilemmas; and f) tried to keep the peace at home by telling a white lie that eventually had unintended consequences.

In other words, the very mature subject matter and plot should be of interest to just about any adult anywhere in the world.

I wonder why Hollywood is incapable of making similar films. The cost is minimal, but Hollywood would have to imagine a good story, write a realistic and intelligent screenplay and refrain from explosions.

["The Kids Are All Right" did an excellent job addressing the drama of family dynamics, but it seemed unable to move the focus away from sex and lesbianism. "The Kids..." addressed only one tenth the number of adult issues that "A Separation" does. I wonder if Hollywood is still capable of complex adult family drama.]

The subtitles were not distracting at all.

The sympathetic depiction of Alzheimer's and its effects on all family members is very real, but not at all "in your face".

When living in Cairo for five years our family resided in three separate apartment buildings similar to those in this film. From time to time we'd hear a domestic dispute underway somewhere in the building, and, because the raised voices were in Arabic, we could only imagine what the dispute was about.
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1 Comment 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This film is a masterpiece.

Many reviews have already given away the plot, but in essence this film is about the difficulties of life in Iran told through the misfortune of a split family who get into a bad situation that enables the director to tell the story of lower middle class Iranian life.

The wife wants to move abroad, the husband wants to stay because of his demented father. The daughter is caught in the middle. The family struggle with home help.

There is a twist in the story, which I shall not reveal, but when I saw this film, it was the only film I have ever seen where the entire audience waited through the WHOLE end credit sequence to witness the twist.

Brilliant, educated cinematography.
Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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A Separation, an Iranian film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, is an intricate family drama set in current-day Tehran. It won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 2011, and was also nominated for Academy's Best Original Screenplay Award as well.

The film begins with a couple explaining to a judge why they want a divorce. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to emigrate to another country where she feels they can have a better life for themselves and, more importantly, for their daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). They had filed the needed paperwork months ago and recently it finally came through. But her husband Nader (Peyman Mooadi), who had previously been agreeable to the idea, refuses to go, ostensibly because of his father who is suffering from Alzheimer's and now needs someone with him at all times. Simin, fearing the opportunity may never come again, is determined to go regardless and wants to take Termeh with her. But under Iranian law, she needs Nader's permission for that and he refuses to give it. So they feel that divorce is the only option left to them. The judge says that this is insufficient grounds for a divorce and refuses to approve their request, leaving them without any resolution to their problem. Simin, who had been looking after Nader's father, leaves their home and moves in with her family, while Termeh, who is in school, stays.

Their conflict becomes further complicated when Nader tries to find someone to look after his father while he is away at work. He cannot afford a professional caretaker, so he ends up hiring a woman named Razieh (Sareh Bayet) who is a friend of a cousin of his wife's. Complications arise almost immediately.
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