Review: A Separation / Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (2011)

A Separation / Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (dir. Asghar Farhadi, 2011) – A couple finds conflict in their ideals as prospects of a divorce soon come knocking.

Verdict

Grounded and thought-provoking, A Separation explores common struggles through the trials of marriage and the unseen implications of every decision.

4/5

Review

Simin (Leila Hatami) covets a life abroad with better prospects for her child. Her partner Nader (Peyman Moaadi) is insistent on staying behind to look after his senile father. In the interim, they hire the deeply religious Razieh (Sareh Bayat) as a caretaker. But her lie in a lawsuit complicates the couple’s ongoing divorce.

A Separation centres on a realistic predicament of familial trials. While set in modern Iranian society and grounded in cultural values, the story itself is universal. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi brings intimacy to the simple plot, revealing subtle cracks in his purposeful narrative choices.

Tension builds, but Asghar Farhadi never firmly takes sides. Instead, he leaves most areas grey. There is no explicit moral judgement on each character’s action, leaving the audience to make the last call on questions of morality. With bedlams as emotive as quieter moments of reflections, A Separation delves into profound themes that will no doubt leave an indelible mark.

More interest lies in the drama’s unfolding through varied perspectives. Originally titled Jodaeiye Nader az Simin or literally The Separation of Nader from Simin, the movie is not so much about the title characters. Rather, much of the story shines a light on their daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).

As the couple makes their own choices in their exacerbated conflict, their child is implicated with little or no choice of her own. Her final and only say in the matter comes with heavy responsibility and permanent consequences, making for a poignant dramatic finale.

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