Friday, January 20, 2012

01-15-12: The Lies that Bind

A SEPARATION (2011) (PG-13) 123mins. **** (Farsi with English subtitles) D: Asgahr Farhadi. Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatimi, Sareh Bayet, Shahab Hosseini.

Two families become embroiled in a trial that pushes the limits as to how far family will go to protect their own.

What starts out to be a melodrama about a divorce turns into a powerful mystery that really delves into Iranian culture, religion and justice. The complexities of it all makes it difficult to take a side in the events that transpire. At first you'll find yourself really disliking someone for their actions but eventually you learn why they did what they did and you grow frustrated because it's no longer cut and dry. You hate what they did but you see what they were up against and it becomes difficult to blame them. The drama grows even more complex as family members find themselves having to stretch the truth in order to protect the ones they love.

Well written, directed and acted this Iranian drama is very universal and could have easily taken place in any country. It doesn't force a particular point of view and doesn't try to sway you to a particular side. The mystery unfolds for the characters just as it unfolds for the audience. We learn everything just as they do. We want the best for this family that is coming apart and unfortunately this may not come to pass.

This is a fantastic drama that really pushes the envelope on issues such as religion, class and criminal justice. How collectively this will drive someone to do something they normally wouldn't and the consequences that follow.

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