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DVD Review: A Separation

August 21, 2012

A Separation – A Sony Pictures’ Release

http://www.sonyclassics.com/aseparation/

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2012

Rated PG for mature themes

Running time: 123 minutes

Ashgar Farhadi (dir.)

Ashgar Farhadi (writer)

Sattar Oraki (music)

Peyman Moadi as Nader

Leila Hatami as Simin

Sareh Bayat as Razieh

Sarina Farhadi as Termeh

Our reviews below:

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A Separation DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

In the opening scene of A Separation, Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) and their eleven year old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).  But Nader is unable to leave the country because he is left taking care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) who has Alzheimer’s, and Simin files for divorce.  A maid, Razieh (Sareh Bayat) is hired to help with his father, but when Nader is falsely accused of a crime against her, the film becomes a suspenseful court case that questions the moral nature of when to tell the truth.

The recent winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation is an expertly acted and very well written drama that ends up being about so much more than what we initially see on the surface.  Watching the way that everything eventually plays out is fascinating and leaves the audience with a lot to think about, making this an engaging drama that is well worth seeing.

The DVD includes commentary with writer and director Ashgar Farhadi, as well as two featurettes with the Iranian filmmaker.

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A Separation DVD Review By Erin V.  

***1/2 (out of 4)

Winner of this past year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the Iranian film A Separation is a fascinating look at family life and the court system.

The film opens with a scene where wife Simin is requesting a divorce from her husband and permission to bring their 11-year-old daughter Termeh with her out of the country.  Her husband Nader says she can leave if she wishes, but she can’t take their daughter with her.  The reason for the divorce seems to be is one only.  Nader won’t go with Simin because he has his elderly father with Alzheimer’s to take care of.

The film becomes another story entirely when something happens with the woman, Razieh who comes to help care for the grandfather during the day while Nader is at work and Termeh at school.  When a misfortunate accusation brings Nadar under fire from Razieh’s hotheaded husband, the whole thing gets wrapped up in a court and legal battle, with each side feeling reason to convict the other.

The film is very engaging and accessible to watch, and I found it to be quite interesting.  At times there is an air of mystery and suspense as we, the audience, tries to piece everything together for ourselves.  For those interested in family-related dramas, as well as foreign films, A Separation is a quality piece of filmmaking that is well-worth a watch.

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A Separation DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

A Separation follows a series of events that leads to a very complicated situation.  Simin (Leila Hatami) asks to divorce her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) and raise their 11 year old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), in another country.  Nader is frustrated by the proposal, as he desperately needs 24 hour care for his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who has advanced Alzheimer’s disease.  So he hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat), the mother of 4 year old Somayeh (Kimia Hosseini), to care for his father.  But a tragic death occurs, and accusations get made between Nader, Simin and Razieh’s husband Hojjat (Shahab Hosseini) about who is responsible.

A Separation is a believable and engaging story.  Both a family drama and a court drama, the film shows the nature of the Iranian court system.  There are no lawyers, just finger pointing and accusations.  One especially feels sorry for the children involved, who are not even part of the dispute.  The acting here is good.  We really care about the people in the film, making this whodunit quite interesting.  Anyone interested in a good dramatic mystery or in human rights will want to see A Separation.

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A Separation DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Winner of numerous awards including a 2011 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation is a gripping, well-written drama about two Iranian families who’s lives intersect and unfold over several days in and out of  a local courtroom.

In the first family, the wife Simin (Leila Hatami) has an opportunity to leave Iran for a better life elsewhere.  She wants her husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi) and their eleven year old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) to leave with her.  When Nader refuses out of his duty to stay behind and care for his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) who has advanced Alzheimer’s, Simin files for divorce.  Struggling to cope with caring for his father and his daughter, Nader hires a local woman to come in and help.

The drama begins when the new caregiver Razieh (Sareh Bayat) comes in with her young daughter Somayeh (Kimia Hosseini) and quickly finds the situation with the elderly man too much for her to handle.  A medical emergency occurs, money is missing, accusations fly and the caregiver and her hot-tempered husband Hojjat (Shahab Hosseini) find themselves in court facing off with Nader and his family.

The story in A Separation unfolds like a well written mystery.  The viewer feels compelled to watch and listen carefully to decide what is fact and what is perceived truth.  There are no easy answers here.  The  dialogue (subtitled) is brought to life by the excellent cast.  There are no weak performances in this film.  Especially touching are the scenes with the non-verbal grandfather.  The ending of the film provides for some interesting post-viewing discussion.

Writer/director Asghar Farhadi deserved the many awards for A Separation.  If you appreciate foreign films, this one’s worth checking out.

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A Separation DVD Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

A Separation begins with a middle class couple Nader and Simin (Peyman Moadi and Leila Hatami) petitioning before a judge for divorce, so that Simin can take their eleven year old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) abroad for a better life while Nader stays behind to care for his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) afflicted with dementia. Simin temporarily moves in with her mother and Nader hires an unemployed cobbler, Hojjat (Shahab Hosseini) as a personal care worker for his father during working hours. Hojjat’s wife Razieh (Sareh Bayat) comes instead with her little girl Somayeh (Kimia Hosseini), but as a devout Moslem is uneasy about attending to the father’s intimate needs.

After several days Nader comes home early to find his father fallen out of bed almost dead with Razieh gone and some money missing. When she returns he throws her out, but the next day finds himself accused of a serious crime and attacked by Hojjat because Razieh claims Nader assaulted her. At first Nader denies even knowing she was pregnant and shows how unlikely it was that his actions caused her injuries. The truth finally comes out.

A Separation was deservedly showered with numerous awards for writer/director Asghar Farhadi. Shot with a hand-held camera in a very intimate style, the fine cast takes us through the conflicting interests and stresses of ordinary people trying to cope with difficult situations, not always in honourable ways, as the mystery of what really happened is gradually revealed.

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Consensus: The recent winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, writer-director Ashgar Farhadi’s A Separation is an engaging and expertly acted Iranian drama about family and the morals of telling the truth.  ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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