Film Review: A Separation – A Human Story Of Great Social Relevance
By Grace Cook on July 14, 2011 in Film
The film begins with the separation of Nader & his wife Simin (Leila Hatami), who seeks to leave Iran to give their daughter a better future, having been granted a visa to leave Iran for an unspecified destination. Nader (Peyman Moadi), however, refuses to leave as his Alzheimer’s-suffering father needs round the clock care and attention.
The resulting events of the separation snowballs into a suffocating legal case, in which Nader is accused of causing the miscarriage of his impoverished housekeeper Razieh, hired to take care of Nader’s father after Simin departed the family home.
Razieh (Sareh Bayat) is counter-accused of theft and negligence, and the legal battle becomes a fight to defend individual honour.
This tense and often frustrating portrayal of two families caught up in domestic turmoil questions the nature of loyalty, truth and integrity. Immediately, clear distinctions can be made between the families: one is secular, middle class and westernised and the other impoverished and deeply religious.
Farhadi cleverly plays with the class divide to highlight a stifling gender difference: pregnant Razieh takes the job as housekeeper because her hot-headed husband is unemployed and debt-ridden, but then she is punished by her husband for working in the home of a single man.
A Separation is not only a film exploring the issue of gender difference in Iran, it also raises important global questions regarding wealth, class, morality and perhaps most importantly, religion.
Farhadi raises these issues, yet crucially never casts judgement; all characters are both in the right and in the wrong simultaneously.
It is left for the audience to ponder over the complexity of the issues, and question what their actions would be when faced by such a situation.
This is a human story of great social relevance. A Separation is captivating viewing from the beginning until the very end.
A Separation will be playing at the Tyneside Cinema until Sunday 17 July, but with limited screening choices it’s best to look now.
- Preview: I Am Nasrine @ The Tyneside Cinema