A Separation (2011)



Critic Consensus: Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity.

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Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. Simin sues for divorce when Nader refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parents' home, but Termeh decides to stay with Nader. When Nader hires a young woman to assist with his father in his wife's absence, he hopes that his life will return to a normal state. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage. -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics
PG-13 (for mature thematic material)
Art House & International , Drama
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Sareh Bayat
as Razieh
Babak Karimi
as Interrogator
Ali-Asghar Shahbazi
as Nader's Father
Shirin Yazdanbakhsh
as Simin's Mother
Kimia Hosseini
as Somayeh
Merila Zarei
as Miss Ghahraii
Shirin Yazdanbakhsh
as Simin's Mother
Kimia Hosseini
as Somayeh
Merila Zareie
as Ms. Ghahraei
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Critic Reviews for A Separation

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (46)

You cannot watch the film without feeling kinship with the characters and admitting their decency as well as their mistakes.

Full Review… | June 19, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Dynamically shot and paced like a thriller, the film has the density and moral prickliness of a good novel.

Full Review… | March 7, 2012
The Atlantic
Top Critic

These people seem so real they might live next door. And they probably do.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

"A Separation" is a plaintive fable of the human condition that unites us.

Full Review… | February 16, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Very few movies capture as convincingly as A Separation does the ways in which seemingly honorable decisions can lead to interpersonal conflict -- even disaster.

February 10, 2012
Denver Post
Top Critic

To say the piercing Iranian film A Separation is about divorce is a bit like saying The Wizard of Oz is about a pair of slippers.

Full Review… | February 9, 2012
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Separation


A compelling drama full of nuances and with many unexpected twists in a story in which all of the characters have solid reasons for their actions, which makes it nearly impossible to judge them for what they do - and it should certainly grow on you after more viewings.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Writer-Director Farhadi has stated that this movie is about the process of judgement, and he succeeds. From the very first scene, we understand the stalemate between a husband and a wife seeking divorce in front of a representative of the state. They had plans to leave Iran, and just as the bureaucratic process grants them able, the husband's father has become so chronically ill that his son refuses to leave him. The wife wants her 11 year old to grow up in a better environment, and the visa granting her ability to leave will end in 40 days. It's hard to find fault in either one's wishes, really quite the opposite. The complications of the husband now being a single father and taking responsibility for his own father result in one tragic situation after another. "A Separation" continues with razor-sharp writing, both in plot development and in dialogue, as each character navigates the people and forces in their lives in a very arduous situation.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

Unmatched in its depiction of modern life in contemporary Iran, "A Separation" delves into the lives of a family during the separation of its husband and wife. Trying to flee the country amidst its regular turmoil, Simin (Hatami) finds opposition from her husband (Moadi), who won't leave behind his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's. The film is pivotal in portraying how difficult life in Iran is, from an institutionalized fear of religious zeal, to the lack of rights for women, to the lack of agency that an Iranian citizen truly possesses. Just in looking at the plot of film you can also argue that it's a very human story, based on the emotion wrought from caring for a parent with a debilitating disease, or having to take care of your family in the wake of your husband's joblessness. It's a riveting story that is all together heartbreaking in execution. The performance from Hatami, as the broken down wife, made strong by the love of her daughter, was a revelation. She is so steadfast and immovable, qualities female characters don't often exhibit, let alone in an Iranian production. Nader's story is quite heartbreaking, as he is fighting against a rising tide, but he is not the victim. Neither is the calamitous Hodjat (Housseini), though he is the one bringing charges against Nader. In this environment no one wins, no one understands, and no one finds closure. Engrossing until the last minute, this is a must see for everyone, anyone, everyone.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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