Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)

Critics Consensus

Its reach may exceed its grasp, but Women Without Men's beautiful imagery and quiet elegance will entrance patient viewers.



Total Count: 39


Audience Score

User Ratings: 581
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Movie Info

"Women Without Men," chronicles the intertwining lives of four Iranian women during the summer of 1953; a cataclysmic moment in Iranian history when an American led, British backed coup d'état brought down the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, and reinstalled the Shah to power.


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Critic Reviews for Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (19)

  • Its elegiac mood and chiaroscuro beauty are hard to shake.

    Jul 9, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
  • A work of real beauty.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Eloquent film illuminates Iranian history from a female point of view.

    Jul 6, 2010
  • The script jettisons most of the book's more powerful sections, upping the political angle and inexplicably eliminating motivations that made the strongly feminist story, rich in symbolism, so intriguing.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Full Review…

    Jay Weissberg

    Top Critic
  • It's a celebration of women's resilience in the face of absolute patriarchy, an oppression that's felt on personal, cultural, and political levels.

    Jul 1, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • It is implacably in favour of women without in any way straining for effect.

    Jun 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)

  • Feb 27, 2013
    Magic realism works surprisingly well alongside "everyday life" in this drama which focuses on the interweaving of four Iranian women in 1953 - the year of the US/British coup d'etat. Complex but approachable, the film deftly tackles feminist, religious and political themes in an assured evocation of period. Excellent performances from the four lead actors.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2010
    a interesting drama set in iran during a turbelant time during the 50s, and four womens lives looked at, and how the four are connected through a location they all find in some way, well told in parts and the setting set during the days of the shaw, and there dispute with the british goverment blockadeing there oil, fits well together and adds to the lives of the charactors, also good at showing how iran is male dominated, and women not having the rights others do
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Jul 16, 2010
    1953 Iran is like the present day Iran in some areas, as women have to live by prescribed roles in both times. For example, Zarin(Orsolya Toth) is a prostitute. Fakhri(Arita Shahrzad) is nearing fifty and encounters Abbas(Bijan Daneshmand), an ex-flame, just as her husband(Tahmoures Tehrani), a general, is threatening to marry a younger woman. It is Munis(Shabnam Toloui) who sees the possibility for a better future as she listens to news reports on the radio about the protests that are happening just outside her door but is forbidden from attending by her brother Amir Khan(Essa Zahir) who is angry at her for not being married at the ripe old age of thirty, as her friend Faezeh(Pegah Ferydoni) commiserates with her. "Women without Men" gets off to a slow start but gains steam and a visual flair once it not only escapes from its social realist origins to tell its story from a magic realism angle, but also as the female characters are escaping from their roles. Zarin runs away from the brothel to the country while Fakhri herself runs away and buys an orchard. Munis' escape is the most drastic but it is also not the end of her story, as rebirth in both a literal and a symbolic sense is a major theme of the movie as Iran is born again in a revolution(I love that a Communist is portrayed in a positive light), just not one with a happy ending this time around for the country. (Originally reviewed May 16, 2010)
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2010
    Haunting, beautifully shot tale of four Iranian women during the 1953 coup, each abused by the men in their lives in different ways, who find peace and refuge in a lush orchard far from the turmoil. Some of the stories work better than others, but director Shirin Neshat conjures a powerful mood, even if it falls just short of compelling.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer

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