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The Circle (Dayereh) (2001)


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 60
Fresh: 56
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Bleak, yet powerful, The Circle offers a searing indictment of the oppressive conditions experienced by women in Iran.

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 19
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Bleak, yet powerful, The Circle offers a searing indictment of the oppressive conditions experienced by women in Iran.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 2,238



Movie Info

A look at the world of seven women in Iran, searching for themselves while struggling with everyday oppression. Having been released from prison only to find themselves confined by the world outside.

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Kambuzia Partovi
In Theaters:
Dec 18, 2001
Winstar Cinema


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Critic Reviews for The Circle (Dayereh)

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (4) | DVD (6)

An impressive piece of work, especially considering it was made in a barren artistic climate overseen by a censorious government.

Full Review… | September 13, 2001
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Just like Tomb Raider, it is fiction. It just unfortunately comes a lot closer than the American film to the truth of how its female characters live.

Full Review… | June 15, 2001
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

A memorable and devastating indictment of the oppression facing many women in Iran.

Full Review… | June 12, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

In its brisk way, it's a devastating piece of work, and very brave too.

Full Review… | June 11, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

Profoundly dangerous to the status quo in Iran because it asks us to identify with the plight of women who have done nothing wrong except to be female.

Full Review… | June 8, 2001
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The world it shows is both mysterious and full of menace -- yet as real as the world outside the theater.

June 7, 2001
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

What few ironies there are, are overpowered by the firm, calm, institutionalized oppression imposed on the women of Panahi's country.

Full Review… | May 4, 2010
East Bay Express

... like a cry of distress from a princess imprisoned in a tower. But the tower is in a busy world of heartless, self-absorbed men who laugh at the idea of a rescue.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

The Circle basically shows that Iran is a police state with severe measures for keeping women in control.

Full Review… | May 11, 2003
Movie Magazine International

Gives some quick, powerful impressions of the Iranian woman's plight, but much less than if it had paused to tell a few stories thoroughly.

Full Review… | March 11, 2003

The surprising conclusion leaves one breathless and depressed.

Full Review… | December 4, 2001

A deeply felt, fascinating work that's dramatically resonant as well as politically important.

Full Review… | September 11, 2001
One Guy's Opinion

The deceptively simple story leads up to an exceptionally powerful ending that will have you mulling it over for days.

Full Review… | July 6, 2001
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Feels like the kind of movie that could change things.

Full Review… | June 28, 2001
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A tragic film from start to finish, but equally undeniable is the endless stoicism displayed by the women, and Panahi's crisp, meandering direction.

Full Review… | June 25, 2001
Austin Chronicle

Few who make it through ... The Circle will forget the experience, or argue the film's power.

June 1, 2001
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A quiet indictment and a quiet tribute as well.

Full Review… | June 1, 2001
Ottawa Citizen

It's an elegant film, though distressing to watch.

Full Review… | May 25, 2001
Nitrate Online

... a powerful statement about the oppression of women in Iran (banned within its own country), yet also celebrates their sisterhood

Full Review… | May 23, 2001
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Circle (Dayereh)


[font=Century Gothic][color=darkorchid]During the opening credits of "The Circle" a 2000 movie from Iran directed by Jafar Panahi(Crimson Gold), we hear the sounds of childbirth. A nurse tells a relative through an opening that "It's a Girl." And the relative is heartbroken to hear the news, even though it would be normal to be overjoyed to receive the news. Welcome to modern day Iran, where special restrictions govern the movement and lives of women - they cannot travel alone or in the company of non-relative men, for example. "The Circle" examines the lives of four women, in a device borrowed from "La Ronde", some of whom are just out of prison.(Even after being released from prison, there is a huge stigma attached.) What they were in prison for is never revealed, but it is greatly hinted at in the final minutes. This is a great movie full of everyday terrors in a society where women exist as no better than prisoners.[/color][/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Be in the right mood to see this. It is one of umpteen depictions of women coping in fundamentalist Islamic states but it happens to be one of the better ones.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Undoubtedly,it's one of the top 10 films of 2000.Justification knows no boundaries and female,psychological suffering is excellently displayed on this film.Real drama,nothing fake to cover the truth.Panahi eluding his road to "sacrilegious perdition" contrary to the customs of Iran,we can say with certainty it's a universal journey.A journey disastrous through the looking glass of a handful of women.

Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

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