A Separation (2011) (PG-13)

Nader and Simin have been married for a while. Their daughter, Termeh, is now a teenager and things are starting to change around their house. Nader's father has moved into their house, he has Alzheimers and it starts to tear the family apart. Simin decides that she wants to leave the country and take their daughter with her. She asks Nader if he will come with her; but he feels that he has an obligation to stay.
Nader and Simin's relationship is not loveless, you can tell that they still care about each other. Each one suffers from an acute sense of logic that overrides their tendencies to be romantic. This is what eventually makes them think that they have to split apart.
Their daughter becomes entrapped in the middle of a custodial tug-of-war. She can't pick between the two people that raised her and so the mother and father decide that they will have to figure it out for her.
The stress and responsibility of caring for someone who is elderly and ailing weighs down to heavily on Simin and she moves out of the house. Nader is unable to care for his father by himself so he hires a woman to look after his father.
Financial difficulties are strongly emphasized in this movie, it's very realistic and not at all fanciful. It's the kind of movie that can be a challenge to watch because it so closely resembles our own lives.
More complications arise from the woman who is supposed to be taking care of the father. After many arguments and impassioned speeches, the family finds themselves being dragged into court.
There are several things that really make this movie work—a father who loves his father too much—a mother who is unwilling to give up her hold on her child—a woman who cannot tell the truth to her husband—a man who is loosing his mind.
"A Separation" doesn't hold anything back. It's brutal with its punches and graphic with its realism.
This film brings you into another culture that, personally, I was unfamiliar with. Many filmmakers would feel the need to makes comments about the relationship between America and Iran, where the film is set. But Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director, doesn't follow the conventional way. He has such an unflinching resolution to bring this family's story to life that a very simple theme becomes clear—everybody has problems, and we are no different from the Iranians.
This film is what put Iran back on the map as far as credible motion pictures are concerned. It managed to find a place of the top films ever made (according to imdb.com) and grabbed an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
It's a film that isn't sentimental but positively just about life. You feel the pains and sorrows and tensions as this family tries to overcome obstacle after obstacle.
The ending is fantastic, it's just what this film needed to make it an almost perfect movie. It doesn't have a fairy tale ending even though that's what the viewer wants. It's not my favorite movie but it is a very impactful film.

Score: 4 out of 4 stars

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