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Leila Hatami, Peyman Moadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Sarina Farhadi ... see more see more... , Babak Karimi , Ali-Asghar Shahbazi , Shirin Yazdanbakhsh , Kimia Hosseini , Merila Zarei , Peyman Moaadi

Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. Simin sues for divorce when Nade... read more read more...r refuses to leave behind his Alzheimer-suffering father. Her request having failed, Simin returns to her parents' home, but Termeh decides to stay with Nader. When Nader hires a young woman to assist with his father in his wife's absence, he hopes that his life will return to a normal state. However, when he discovers that the new maid has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage. -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics

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92% liked it

20,689 ratings


99% liked it

149 critics

PG-13, 2 hr. 3 min.

Directed by: Asghar Farhadi

Release Date: December 30, 2011

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DVD Release Date: August 21, 2012

Stats: 1,867 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (1,867)

  • July 9, 2013
    Strange country...strange culture..
  • April 7, 2013
    An uber-realist slice of life from Iran, where we see into the day-to-day realities that every citizen in the country faces. The story turns around a couple struggling with whether to leave the country or not - the debate that drives them to separate - and it makes perhaps its st... read morerongest point with its ending; I won't tell you the endpoint of the narrative, but I will talk about the final shot, which pans the Social Services office and gradually builds the background noise to make what this point seems (to me) to be: the extraordinary struggle required to do rather ordinary things has become ordinary in Iran, and the case we've seen is just another file, something that happens every day. Challenging window into a different kind of society; not the most enjoyable movie, but definitely one from which we can learn a lot by observing the micro-political and the way it plays out.
  • March 6, 2013
    I truly believe that every bible thumping, prejudiced American should be forced to view this complex and beautifully executed film by writer/dir Asghar Farhadi, as it gives not only insight into a different culture, but reveals that the trials and tribulations of these modern Ira... read morenian families are no different than our own.

    The film begins with a couple sitting in front of a judge (who is not seen). The woman is filing for divorce, claiming that after exhaustive efforts, she has finally gotten a visa so she, her husband, and their 11 year old daughter can leave Iran and give their daughter a better life (not that their existence in Iran is all that shabby - but the promise of freedoms and all the west has to offer is enticing, especially to the mother). The husband is resisting the move as he feels he needs to care for his ailing father, who suffers from severe Altzheimers. The wife tells her husband "be reasonable, he doesn't even know you anymore", to which husband replies "but I know him".

    This sets the table for all that follows, as Farhadi expertly weaves a tale where The Law comes head on against humanity and every major character acts responsibly, and yet all is still a jumble and everyone opposes everyone else, and even themselves and their own best interests.

    So much is wasted by conformity - to religion and the social mores it insists upon - the wife of a poor family cannot work as a caregiver because there will not be another woman present to confirm her sanctity (a woman is NEVER supposed to be left alone in a room with a man). That the adherence to this tradition is an impetus to so much of what goes on in the film is telling. Each character tells their version of truth, and acts according to their beliefs, but in the end, in spite of their sincerity, there is tragedy and loss and misunderstanding - as if Babel is in effect and everyone is speaking, but no-one understands.

    This is a very powerful film, and as it points its lens on the 11 year old girl, the film gives us time to ponder how this bright young woman is trapped in a rigid society, just as her parents and the other main characters are equally trapped. The law is an absolute, and when it is formed and cemented by fundamental religious beliefs - its inflexibility is harmful to the citizen... the age old concept of protecting the citizen by keeping them in ignorance so they won't be corrupted by that old Satanic snake of knowledge.
  • January 30, 2013
    "A Separation" is simply a masterclass in human storytelling. The writing, acting, and direction are so flawless, you never even clue into the fact you are experiencing a work of fiction. It'll have you in it's grasp like few others.

    One of the best films of recent years.
  • September 13, 2012
    A Separation, well deserving of its praise, is an essay on responsibility. It involves different viewpoints of very different people and questions everything from the justice system in Iran to the viewers opinions as to what is right and what is wrong. No one here is really at fa... read moreult but certainly no one is without some kind of guilt. The film also breaks down quite a few taboo subjects and misconceptions or Iran, Iranians and Iranian customs/beliefs. It's never preachy either, leaving it solely to the viewer to decide although at times it's not so much choose your hero as it is choose your villain. Refreshing cinema.
  • fb619846742
    September 12, 2012
    An emotional, powerful look at two families intertwined by tragedy, and how each pleads their case for innocence and how justice should be theirs. A quiet movie that catches you off guard, all while possessing the emotional firepower of justice, guilt, pride, family, and pain in ... read moreone cannon. Tremendous performances anchor this strong film that, like its fitting conclusion, refuses to pick a side, instead giving the viewer a look through objective lenses. A rare work that packs an unmistakable punch, and undoubtedly the best movie of 2011 that will not garner a mainstream audience, but great films like this are truly hard to come by nowadays.
  • fb100000145236770
    September 3, 2012
    I don't mind foreign language movies at all, and in fact one of my favorite movies of the year so far is a french movie called "Intouchables.". Every year around award season, I try to watch as many nominated movies as possible. I had tried to watch "A Separation" a few times, ... read morebut the copy wasn't great, so I opted to wait, and it was worth the wait. This is a drama made in Iran, that is very compelling. It revolves around a married couple who are separating because the husband wants to stay with his Alzheimer stricken father and his wife wants to move on. He hires a young pregnant woman to help him out while he works, since his wife has moved out. One day the he comes home early to find his father face down and tied to a bed, but the woman is gone. When she returns they get into a heated argument, and she falls down, and suffers a miscarriage. From there it becomes like a mystery, as to whether or not he caused the miscarriage, and the effects it has on their families. In a lot of the reviews for this I had read it was like a Hitchcock movies, and in some respects I can see that, but at the same time this is a drama, not a thriller/suspense movie. It's well acted, and the way the movie looks is beautiful. It drags a bit in the middle, but stick with it. It's nice to see a movie involving Iran that doesn't involve terrorists, oil, or war. This is a story that could just as easily been told in America. Good movie that if you don't mind subtitles you should check out.
  • July 6, 2012
    A mundane but extremely intricate story served with verosimilitud, humanism, tenderness and tension, poured on the screen as a reevaluation of everyone's actions and consequences. Marvelously acted. Nourishment for the soul.
  • May 9, 2012
    A Separation is a flawlessly directed ensemble piece. We're introduced to a family and their acquaintances. Usually a director's hand is apparent, guiding the viewer to a pre-ordained conclusion. In today's world where most stories dictate there must be a hero and a villain, writ... read moreer-director Farhadi is a bit of a rebel. He does not preach, but rather demonstrates life as it really is, where nuance and subtlety reign. His point of view is that he has no point of view. Farhadi simply lays humanity bare in a way that renders race, religion, and nationality irrelevant. Yes cultural differences play a part, as they would in any story regarding a group of people. Yet this not a drama about Iran, or Muslims, or even men and women. It is a drama about what it means to be human. In this way, A Separation is quite simply a masterpiece of modern cinema.
  • May 4, 2012

    Knowing where the movie originates from, I couldn't help my cynicism. Apparently not to blame the country here, it's owing to my ignorance (as you may know, it's deep-rooted by default) of what sort of cinema exists there. The way ... read moreit began, I feared if it'd be any better than a mediocre TV (drama) episode. Slow as it started, it does pick up once it gets going. The execution of the manipulative ways the characters use to solve their situation is exemplary. Especially the psychological game played by one of the protagonists. If only the movie had a sound ending. Not to say that it could have used a 15-20 minutes' trimming, the plot also starts to fall apart towards the end. I don't have any specific problem with the very ending leaving us to go figure the girl's decision, my problem lies in the incidents before it. If only they'd added it up together toward the end as sensibly as they did for the rest of the part, I'd have appreciated it more. Maybe I've interpreted it incorrectly, but even then I'd have to blame the execution for not being so precise as it was before the last half-hour or so. Having said that, this flick is indeed an exceptionally unique experience. More or less. Its grip before it chooses to fall apart is incredible.

    Although I'm not the one to go for movies for they leave you thinking (or call for discussions, et al) I admit that even after ending, the movie manages to linger on for a while thanks to its inconsistent, manipulative characters and its premise. (But as I said, that's not a reason enough for me to draw me toward or even consider watching a movie. Some have that sort of preference. To each, their own.)

    Not a courtroom drama, not a thriller, not a murder mystery, it has a genre of its own. Drama fits the bill, but it's an unusual one for that. Or maybe I'm exaggerating. If you're interested in knowing the truth, it's out there. Can't recommend it enough.

Critic Reviews

David Thomson
June 19, 2013
David Thomson, The New Republic

You cannot watch the film without feeling kinship with the characters and admitting their decency as well as their mistakes. Full Review

Jon Frosch
March 7, 2012
Jon Frosch, The Atlantic

Dynamically shot and paced like a thriller, the film has the density and moral prickliness of a good novel. Full Review

Tom Long
February 23, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

These people seem so real they might live next door. And they probably do. Full Review

Joe Williams
February 17, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A Separation" is a plaintive fable of the human condition that unites us. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
February 10, 2012
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

Very few movies capture as convincingly as A Separation does the ways in which seemingly honorable decisions can lead to interpersonal conflict -- even disaster. Full Review

Chris Vognar
February 9, 2012
Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

To say the piercing Iranian film A Separation is about divorce is a bit like saying The Wizard of Oz is about a pair of slippers. Full Review

Colin Covert
February 2, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A Separation" moves beyond one couple's sundering marriage to reveal growing rifts between generations, ideologies, religious mind-sets, genders and classes in contemporary Iran. Full Review

John Hartl
February 2, 2012
John Hartl, Seattle Times

Partly a courtroom drama, partly a political satire and partly a twisty thriller that gradually draws you in and becomes more engrossing with each new revelation. Full Review

Bill Goodykoontz
February 2, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

"A Separation" is a great movie, a look inside a world so foreign that it might as well be another planet, yet so universal that its observations are painfully familiar to anyone, anywhere. Full Review

Rene Rodriguez
January 27, 2012
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

Sometimes, in an attempt to do the best we can for the people we love, we end up wreaking irreparable damage. Full Review

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    • Termeh: If you don't say a lie, why you should be careful?
    • Simin: What did you do to her?
    • Razieh: [pleading] By Imam-i-Hussein [later] by Imam-u-zaman.
    • Nader: What is wrong is wrong... No matter who says or where it's written.
    • Simin: He doesn't even know you're his son.
    • Nader: But I know he's my father...
    • Termeh: You said it's not serious.
    • Nader: It got serious.

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A Separation Trivia

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  • Will Smith made his acting debut in a film that garnered Stockard Channing her first and only Oscar nom. What was it?  Answer »
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