Le passé (The Past)

2013

Le passé (The Past)

Critics Consensus

Beautifully written, sensitively directed, and powerfully acted, The Past serves as another compelling testament to Asghar Farhadi's gift for finely layered drama.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 153

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,001
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Movie Info

An Iranian man reunites with his estranged wife (Bérénice Bejo) in Paris to finalize their divorce, which is soon complicated by a shocking revelation by her daughter from a previous marriage. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Le passé (The Past)

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (38)

  • No one wins in this ambiguous, accomplished film, which ends by burdening the audience with a secret that none of the characters will ever know.

    Dec 31, 2017 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Tahar Rahim and Bérénice Bejo are on top form in this immaculate study of marital disharmony.

    Mar 27, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • In the end, so much of The Past just doesn't have that crucial ring of truth to it. Disappointing and underwhelming.

    Mar 25, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Farhadi has pulled off the dysfunctional family mystery trick twice now, brilliantly, and perhaps three times in a row would be too much. But it's doubtful he will leave behind the fertile ground of family ties and modern messiness. He sees so much there.

    Feb 13, 2014 | Rating: A | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • "The Past" is long and occasionally feels slow - as real life sometimes does - but never false.

    Feb 7, 2014 | Rating: 3/4
  • Farhadi is the rare director who can establish an atmosphere of intimacy that resonates with meaning and sentiment.

    Jan 30, 2014 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Le passé (The Past)

  • Apr 28, 2014
    A movie with all the trappings of a insightful and intricate drama - the actors display all the emotions of rage, anger, sadness and confusion that failed relationships bring. Yet ultimately the film fails to be as meaningful of a character study as it thinks it is. "Le Passé" (The Past) is brave enough to imply lots of things about humans but doesn't go as far to make you believe them. Once the central secret is revealed the film decides to become a mystery vs a human drama and then the proceedings just get more unbelievable as every twist gets revealed. The performances are top-notch, though I wish Tahar Rahim was more commanding. Rahim, so revelatory in "A Prophet", fails to really connect with the character cohesively so it's hard to imagine why Berenice Bejo is with him. Her daughter implies a reason at one point but the film does nothing to explore that truth other than continue to imply it. "The Past" is worth watching for several scenes that are powerful. The scenes with young son Fouad are strong - and he becomes one of the more interesting characters in the film. Ali Mosaffa is great as the soon-to-be ex-husband but you never quite know what drove the relationship to fall apart and the first half of the film where you follow him and how he causes the unravelling of this family is more interesting than the second half of the film.
    Tony G Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2014
    Farhadi is quickly becoming the king of of these low key domestic dramas because just about anyone else would make this same material boring. Perhaps "The Past" indulges in melodrama a little too much, but that's a relatively minor complaint.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2014
    I am always hesitant to approach foreign films on the idea of not being aware of the culture in which they take place and therefor being unable to relate to the situations these films might present. I have always felt this way yet always known the only way to combat such tendencies is to better acquaint myself with more foreign films. I try to do so from time to time and when I heard Asghar Farhadi's much acclaimed follow-up to 2011's A Separation would finally be making it to my neck of the woods I was more than anxious to see what the director had crafted this time around. I remember being in awe of how well Farhadi's previous film was able to so easily capture and wrap me up in the simple issues of the family dynamic that was taking place in front of us and that the smallest of details, of changes in routine would be the event that spurned the main conflict the film was dissecting. It was such a simplistic, yet completely intriguing set-up that I wondered why films and namely those from my own country did not use this technique more often. Something such as The Past is an easy film to look at and see its obvious virtues, but these are only obvious because Farhadi has no doubt worked extremely hard to capture the naturalistic tone and conversation between these characters that allow it to feel effortless, as if we were simply observing the actions of these real human beings rather than the fact they were conjured up and plotted out by a singular source. When taking the film on from this perspective it is even easier to see the level of craft and skill involved in what the final version of this film presents and how well the characters have been realized because, as it is staged, we peel back the layers of who these average-seeming individuals are and the baggage they carry with them. It is truly a testament to the idea that each of us carry our own, interesting stories and that we all have something to tell though wouldn't want to necessarily share. The characters of The Past are that of people we could live next door to (despite the fact this takes place in France with influences from Iran) and their issues are those common enough to buy into the drama while complicated enough one wouldn't wish them on another. Through this power of simplistic, relatable narrative Farhadi has mastered the character drama. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.net
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2014
    Farhadi proves again that he is one of the greatest storytellers nowadays to shape nuanced, three-dimensional characters, making it impossible for us to take sides or judge any of them - and his wonderful last scene, filmed in one long take, is of extraordinary sensibility.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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