About Elly

Critics Consensus

About Elly offers viewers performances as powerful as its thought-provoking ideas, and adds another strong entry to Asghar Farhadi's impressive filmography.



Total Count: 70


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,763
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Movie Info

From the Academy Award winning director of A SEPARATION comes this gripping mystery set among a group of old friends on a holiday retreat. With the return of their close friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of former college pals decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. The fun starts right away as they quickly catch on to the plan of lively Sepideh, who has brought along Elly, her daughter's kindergarten teacher, in hopes of setting her up with recently divorced Ahmad. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, suddenly swing round and come back full force when one afternoon Elly suddenly vanishes. Her mysterious disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear. (C) Cinema Guild

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Critic Reviews for About Elly

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for About Elly

  • Jun 19, 2015
    Sepideh: Now, what does he think about Elly? It is interesting to go back in time with a director I have only recently found myself so intrigued by in recent years. Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi had made four other films prior to A Separation and The Past. About Elly is one that somehow got lost in the shuffle as far as getting an American release. Regardless, the film has now arrived and continues to shed light on what a talent Farhadi is in capturing human drama. The film is something of a mystery set among a group of old friends on a holiday retreat. With the return of a close friend, a group of former college pals decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. While things begin in good spirits, complete with an attempt to hook up two individuals, trivial lies start accumulating and things really escalate when a sudden disappearance occurs. This sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything. As I mentioned, this film really continues to prove how adept Farhadi is at developing human drama. That it is not quite as good as A Separation or The Past only suggests that Farhadi has improved only time as a filmmaker, given how good About Elly still is. This is a film that is stripped down of nearly everything, aside from some narrative ambition when it comes to utilizing the location for high tension. What is left are a collection of characters and a screenplay that allows for very natural conversations, arguments, and other relatable interactions.
    Aaron N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 07, 2015
    Yes, I liked it, and I want to support this filmmaker. I went to see it because of The Separation, because of how fantastic that film was. This one is not as good, but still interesting. Lots of dialogue to read. I did not feel the storyline was set up well... i felt confused at times, and this is unusual for me. I kept feeling like there was something I missed. All this said, it was interesting, and I recommend it.
    El Z Super Reviewer
  • Apr 27, 2015
    In "About Elly," a group of friends travel to the seaside during a holiday weekend. They are all married couples and their children with the exceptions of Ahmad(Shahab Hosseini) who has just returned to Iran from Germany and a divorce and Elly(Taraneh Alidoosti) who is one of the children's teachers. So, there is hope that they will become better acquainted. But sadly there is no hope for them to stay at the house they had wanted to since it had been reserved by a wedding party, so they will have to rough it out in an unfurbished house closer to the sea. "About Elly" teases out a tantalizing mystery. But after that, director Asghar Farhadi does something rather interesting by almost tying the movie into a knot exploring a single procedural point. But considering he has shown a great deal of interest in the Iranian legal system in his other films, I think he is trying to make a point here however subtly through exaggeration about how such minutiae can weigh down everyday life in Iran.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 26, 2014
    Wow. This is a great film. Farhadi kept evolving with every new film he made. He still uses a divorce in the film, but that divorce is transformed into a subtext this time in order to apply his own Antonioni-esque plot in a very similar physical setting: the sea, which vastness hides a bloodcurling amount of incomprehensible secrets. And then again, if we compare both films, we'll realize we are with entirely different universes, and perhaps aren't comparable at all. Truth to be told however, Antonioni's film was a character study of alienation, the disappearance of the character creates a new unspoken attraction between two new leads and becomes a metaphor of the disappearance of the life priorities of oneself's existence, and the affair happens after the disappearance. <i>About Elly</i> is both thematically and psychologically backwards. That is, the "love" affair was planned to happen before the disappearance, and was orchestrated by a group of friends, mainly by a female third party. Moreover, the disappearance turns the lives of everybody upside down, and this psychological analysis fleshes out the characters. Finally, the intention is not to alienate, but to make the tension as realistic as possible. "Tension" is a word I use a lot while writing about Farhadi, because the art of his moviemaking consists exactly in the slow escalation of tension. Whereas he will do this two years later in a way few times attempted before by any moviemaker in <i>A Separation</i> with one of the best opening sequences of the decade, here he achieves this by introducing the whole cast in such a natural way that you feel as a part of the group. You literally play, joke, drink and chat with them. Enough time is spent to set a mood and then drastically change it in the second act. What is very interesting about this mood evolvement is that the plot description already sells the main event: Elly will evaporate from the earth's surface. So the more you get along with the characters' anecdotes, the scarier the idea of somebody disappearing or having an accident becomes. This is proved by the first incident portrayed in the film, which just happens to be unrelated with Elly, but with Arash. The whole situation is so tense, that you start to wonder whether if you'll be able to handle, yes, the <b>tension</b> of the next incident. Farhadi's most important thematic trademarks are present here as well: the power of a lie or lack of communication can bring destruction to everybody involved, little children have to cope with adult problems that they do not understand (suffering in the process), and one single event, suspicion or differing perspectives towards a single problem are the elements used to create verbal, physical and emotional confrontations between the characters that peel their intentions, personalities, fears and impulses as easily as you peel an onion. Bravo to that. 84/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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