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Secret Ballot (2002)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 57
Fresh: 47 | Rotten: 10

A moderately funny comedy that will reward patient viewers.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 3

A moderately funny comedy that will reward patient viewers.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,067

My Rating

Movie Info

A soldier stationed on a deserted beach wakes up and discovers that it's not going to be an ordinary day: there are the elections, but nobody seems to know anything about them. Just as an electoral urn is being parachuted from the sky, a young woman disembarks on the beach. To the soldier's bafflement, it turns out that she is in charge of the mobile electoral seat and voting on the islands; therefore the soldier is obliged to obey her orders and escort her with his rifle and army jeep across


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Babak Payami, Babak Karimi

Jan 7, 2003

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (67) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (10) | DVD (5)

A psychic journey deep into the very fabric of Iranian ... life.

September 13, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A comedy that provides serious testament to the arduous, often dreary, always imperfect work of democracy.

September 13, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautiful to watch and holds a certain charm.

September 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmaker's greatest achievement is that he avoids preaching or taking sides and deftly proves that the weightiest issues can still come tinged with humor and irony.

September 6, 2002
Boston Globe
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A beguiling, slow-moving parable about the collision of past and present on a remote seacoast in Iran.

August 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There has been much puzzlement among critics about what the election symbolizes. I believe the message is in the messenger: The agent is a woman.

August 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Long, still vistas . . . nicely surreal . . . some hard questions about faith and democracy, law and lawlessness, acting for the common good.

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The sophistication of the Western democratic machinery seems absurd and its elaborate schemes for representation unreal by comparison.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source:

Interessante filme que mostra a realidade política e social no Irã, o autoritarismo com relação às mulheres e as contradições de um país governado pela religiosidade.

July 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

As in practically all Iranian films the cast here is made up of nonprofessionals, and they do themselves a good turn as genuine and marvelously well-conceived characters.

January 15, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A solid, well-formed satire.

January 6, 2003 Full Review Source:

Slow, simple, quiet and intriguing. Payami investigates possibilities, and his curiosity carries us along.

November 5, 2002

'...[A] contemplation of the significance, absurdities and/or insignificance of the electoral process...[however] Payami gets his point across long before the film ends, with a message that can't help but hit us over the head...'

October 16, 2002 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

The locations go from stark desert to gorgeous beaches. The story plays out slowly, but the characters are intriguing and realistic.

October 11, 2002 Full Review Source:

A real winner -- smart, funny, subtle, and resonant.

September 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Secret Ballot is a funny, puzzling movie ambiguous enough to be engaging and oddly moving.

September 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

It's an offbeat treat that pokes fun at the democratic exercise while also examining its significance for those who take part.

September 6, 2002
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

An ironic speculation on democracy in a culture unaccustomed to it.

September 5, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A rarity among recent Iranian films: It's a comedy full of gentle humor that chides the absurdity of its protagonist's plight.

September 5, 2002 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Payami tries to raise some serious issues about Iran's electoral process, but the result is a film that's about as subtle as a party political broadcast.

September 3, 2002 Full Review Source:

If you're willing to surrender to its languid, indirect style and its offbeat comic sense, you may find it a rich and rewarding little film.

September 1, 2002 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

There is something that is so meditative and lyrical about Babak Payami's boldly quirky Iranian drama Secret Ballot...a charming and evoking little ditty that manages to show the gentle and humane side of Middle Eastern world politics

September 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Movie Eye
Movie Eye

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