Drew's Review of A Separation
A strong but flawed film. The real drama in any separation is the actual moment of separating, yet during "A Separation" we see two people who plainly no longer love each other at all; they merely need to sort out what to do about their daughter. The real focus of this film is on a son's loyalty to his ailing father. In fact, all of the drama falls from this loyalty; were he not in the picture, we could have a totally different film. Simin, the wife/mother, is too undeveloped; she's on screen less than 20%; a shame because she's a powerful actor, and an important character. One huge problem with the plot is that the viewer knows all along that Nader is not guilty of manslaughter; the drama is simply that he needs to convince others of this. It would have been far more dramatic had the viewer been able to imagine that he was perhaps guilty. Finally, the ending is awkward since so much of the previous drama comes to appear divorced from the question posed at the outset about who their daughter would live with. The unresolved ending is gimmicky, sophomoric: give us a whole story to contemplate, not 90% of one...I couldn't help from thinking about the Dardenne brothers' films, especially "The Promise." If you liked this fine film, then check that one out. And for a family drama that really moves you, check out the French film "The Secret of the Grain."