A tense drama executed to perfection.

Director: Asghar Farhadi

Cast:  Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi, Merila Zarei

Genre: Drama, Mystery

There is no denying the fact that life is very uncertain. Numerous aspects of life lie in a ‘grey’ area. Decision making is often tough and a situation appears to vary radically when viewed from different perspectives. Asghar Farhadi’s, ‘A Separation’ showcases these practicalities of life with great subtlety and beauty. This gem of a movie, from Iran, is a highly engaging drama packed with emotion and heart felt performances.

The film dives right into the story with the first scene. It is that of Simin and Nader, a couple who are mediating a divorce with a lawyer. The reason for this conflict is that Simin wants to leave Iran and settle abroad with her husband and her daughter, Termeh.  Nader, on the other hand, wants to stay in the country to take care of his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The lawyer declares these reasons as insufficient for a divorce and rejects Simin’s application. This opening scene is quite intimate as the camera shot is from the point of the view of the lawyer. Hence, we get to witness the argument directly in front of ourselves.

Nader and Simin

‘A Separation’ is a very authentic drama that is devoid of any forced emotions or melodrama. Everything feels very real. Moving on with the story, Simin moves back to her mother’s home in protest. Razieh, a very religious woman, is hired to take care of Nader’s father while he is at work. Razieh takes up this physically demanding job despite being pregnant because her family is financially challenged. Gradually, she becomes overwhelmed by the new task at hand. This leads to her committing a ‘mistake’ which causes a conflict between her and Nader.

a separation film 2011
Conflict between Nader and Razieh

From this point onwards, the film also turns into a moral and psychological thriller. A lot of other people get involved in this conflict and it slowly becomes denser and an even more sensitive issue. A wide array of emotions are on display including hate, jealousy, greed, and anger. The mystery regarding who is right and who is wrong in the conflict is the core part of the film. Director Asghar Farhadi is a master at work who manages to make something out of nothing. The emotional intensity of the movie is elevated by the brilliant performances of the whole cast.

Overall, A Separation is a very absorbing drama brought to life with a brilliant screenplay and heart felt performances. The film is so true to real life which makes it a very intimate watch. It’s element of mystery keeps the tension alive throughout. A Separation is proof that seemingly simple stories can turn out to be the most complex ones!