Movie Review: “A Separation”

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 11, 2012

Don’t go see this movie. I very strongly advise against it. Because hey, there is no reason why you should pay good money to see a movie with an exceedingly well written script, superb actors who lend strength and gravity to every scene that they are in, and who appeal to the emotions of the audience in the most honest, masterful way possible. There is no reason why you should go see a movie that benefits from some of the finest directing that I have seen in a long while. There is no reason why you should go see a movie that describes in exacting, yet compassionate detail the dysfunctional state that Iranian society has fallen into, while at the same time displaying in glorious detail the awe-inspiring power and skill of the Iranian arts community in telling a complex, multi-layered story to what by all rights should be a captivated audience. There is no reason you should go see a movie whose story goes beyond mere binary notions of right and wrong, and instead respects the intelligence of the viewer by showing that even the most sympathetic characters can and do possess glaring faults, and that the only faultless characters are faultless because they simply do not know better, either because of their youth, or because of the ravages of old age.

There is no reason why you should go see a movie that serves so perfectly as a metaphor for the plight of the modern Iranian, who feels the pull of his or her ancestral homeland, but who at the same time fears the silent annihilation of his or her hopes and dreams if he or she doesn’t leave with loved ones in search of a better life elsewhere. And there is no reason to doubt me when I tell you that tears never came to my eyes while I watched the movie. Why should I have wept? Just because I was devastated by the plight of the characters, or by the larger message regarding what is happening in the land where my mother and father came from? Who would cry over that?

Not I. Not at all. I didn’t cry. No one saw me cry. You can’t prove anything.

So don’t go see A Separation. There is no reason to. Instead, go see The Iron Lady. It was marvelous. I loved it.

Would I lie?

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