A Iranian Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, don’t mind if I do. I do have to mention the film’s director, Asghar Farhadi. Things have been tough, to say the least, with a travel ban being floated around in the U.S. Be that as it may, we must support the film and I am doing my part and at least it was a great film.
Synopsis: After their old flat becomes damaged, Emad and Rana Etesami, a young couple living in Tehran, are forced to move into a new apartment. Eventually, an incident linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes the couple’s life. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, and Babak Karimi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Running Time: 125mins
The story here is about a couple named Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidoosti) Etesami whose lives change after a traumatic event. After being displaced from their previous apartment, the couple moved it to another apartment whose previous tenant’s mysterious past still loomed over them and their lives. The film never really explored this past but it just added to the mystery surrounding what happened.
This incident started to drive them apart and affect their lives, he as a teacher and an actor and her as a homemaker and an actor who were both acting in a production of Death of a Salesman. The plot supposedly shares connections to the play but they were unclear but this did not play that significant of a role. They each had different reactions to what happened with Rana not wanting to relive what happened and move on and Emad not quite willing to move on.
Emad loved Rana so they tried so hard to coexist but that was easier said than done. Beyond their neighbors, no one had knowledge of what happened so it was difficult for them to keep that circle as small as possible. Rana did not want to go to the police, which perhaps cast some doubt over what happened, but Emad was not deterred and decided to do his own investigation.
This investigation took up the second half of the film and was very engaging to watch because of the human component involved in seeing him find justice for his wife. Sometimes one’s revenge plan changes once they meet the object of their revenge. If this film was anything, it was a character study, featuring very human characters and this instance was probably the best example of this. The film builds to an impactful conclusion but the resolution to what actually happened was a little underwhelming but all the emotion involved partly made up for it.
The best part of the film has to be Hosseini’s performance as Emad. He was compelling to watch. He showed a considerable amount of range as a loving husband who respected her wishes but still wanted justice for his wife while approaching it in a genuine, human way. He was in the majority of the film which gave us time to connect to him on an emotional level which only made the film better. The final confrontation with the person responsible for his wife stands out. Alidoosti was also good as Rana with a subdued, restrained performance, portraying her PTSD from the incident and she had great chemistry with Hosseini.
Overall, this was a great, human drama with compelling characters and excellent performances.
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