Circumstance - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Circumstance Reviews

Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
August 21, 2012
The content feels familiar, but the perspective is fresh.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 13, 2011
Keshavarz, who was born in New York City and grew up in the U.S. and Iran, shows us how young people in Tehran get around the constrictive system...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 7, 2011
We never doubt the sincerity of the emotions on display, or of the foretaste Circumstance provides of a society on the brink of radical change.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 7, 2011
About a sexy, frank and politically contentious Iranian film, two things can be known for a certainty: (a) It sure wasn't made in Iran and (b) It won't be shown there either.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
September 30, 2011
[The] film is too much a wounded love story to slide into polemic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
September 16, 2011
Both Boosheri and Kazemy are newcomers, but their spirited, tender performances -- from the eroticism to the shame and the flights of freedom -- feel completely, devastatingly real.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 16, 2011
This impressive debut feature generates plenty of erotic heat, and Nikohl Boosheri, in her first screen role, gives a captivating performance as the sensually awakened heroine.
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Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 16, 2011
Offers an inside look at Iran in all its cultural complexity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
September 9, 2011
Keshavarz has cast mostly newcomers with surprisingly effective results, especially the gorgeous Kazemy, whose somber beauty and quiet focus give her character the gravitas she deserves.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
September 8, 2011
Maryam Keshavarz has announced herself as a bold voice, albeit from exile, in the new Iranian cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 8, 2011
Despite its arty veneer and its ostensibly political edge, Circumstance seems more interested in titillation than revelation.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 8, 2011
More interesting for its cultural views than for its insights into love, sex, family angst, and rebellious youth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 8, 2011
"Circumstance'' is a rhapsodic erotic romance that takes place in a cultural prison, and it pulses with a defiance that would be mischievous if it weren't so rip-roaringly angry.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
September 8, 2011
The film wages an internal battle between its ripely sensual atmosphere and its often stilted pacing and plotting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 8, 2011
Unfortunately, it strays into unlikely melodrama and distracting eroticism.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Logan Hill
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 29, 2011
The film doesn't feel weighed down with the burden of representation: It's too free-flowing for that, too plot-heavy, too stylish, too romantic, too hot.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
August 28, 2011
A powerful debut film and a remarkable tale of oppression and liberation, and one that leaps right to the top of the unfortunately brief list of LGBT-themed films set in the Islamic world.
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
August 26, 2011
Iran's religious fundamentalists can't be pleased with "Circumstance," a bold denunciation of their country's intolerance, especially toward women.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
August 26, 2011
Though some things feel familiar - Atafeh is wealthy, while Shireen is an orphan - Keshavarz's vision is clear and heartfelt, and everyone has an urgency in their eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
John Anderson
Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2011
This is a movie about longing, desire, desperation and the abandonment of principle -- quite a collection of themes, all universal.
Top Critic
August 25, 2011
Circumstance is in many ways an impressive achievement. But its mix of documentary detail and melodramatic plotting ultimately tips toward the latter.
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
August 25, 2011
Maryam Keshavarz's debut feature contains echoes of The Lives of Others and My Son, the Fanatic, but it stands on its own in its portrayal of everyday people trying to make the best of their circumstances in a restrictive society.
Top Critic
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
August 25, 2011
A taboo-busting snapshot of contemporary Tehran - a provocative psychodrama that's part Iranian "Girls Gone Wild," set just before the 2009 elections.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
August 25, 2011
Seething passions boil over, and the results are messy. But if excess and unruliness can be counted among the film's flaws, they also represent the very principles it is determined to defend.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Sam Adams
AV Club
August 25, 2011
Circumstance is solidly constructed, but without much in the way of inspiration.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 24, 2011
[A] stirringly sensual, American-produced ... feature about the urge for personal freedom and its consequences in a repressive society.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
August 24, 2011
For those who've ever pondered what a Skinemax flick sponsored by Human Rights Watch would look like, wonder no more.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
August 23, 2011
Maryam Keshavarz's earnest, well-intentioned first feature on women's oppression in Iran has trouble resisting its own heavy hand.
Top Critic
Robert Koehler
Variety
May 9, 2011
Circumstance suggests a new way of showing stories about young Iranians even as it stumbles and falls over myriad narrative miscalculations.
Top Critic
James Greenberg
Hollywood Reporter
May 9, 2011
Stunning debut lifts the veil on life in Iran.