Sometimes “A Separation” Is A Good Thing

Separations and divorces are never easy.  It’s more difficult when it involves children.  And, here’s something that I could not even imagine.  What if that separation and divorce is brought on by the fact that you want to leave the country to make life better for your child and your spouse doesn’t want to go with you.

No, Ray and I are not divorcing because one of us wants to leave the country!   That is the premise of the 2011 Iranian movie, “A Separation”, that we recently watched.

Without giving away much of the plot, Nader and Simin have been married for 14 years and Simin wants to leave Iran so their 11-year-old daughter Termeh will not have to grow up with the conditions as they are in Tehran.  However, Nader doesn’t want to leave because his elderly father suffers from Alzheimer’s.

So, she asks for a divorce and the judge refuses to give the couple one because he feels the reason is weak.  Simim leaves her husband and daughter and moves in with her family.   However, she doesn’t use her granted visa to leave Iran because she doesn’t want to be that far away from her daughter, Termeh.

The separated couple hires a woman to take care of the elderly man when Nader is at work and Termeh is in school.  The very religious woman, Razieh, has secrets of her own and one thing leads to another and as everything snowballs out of control, an unfortunate accident leads to a death and possible criminal charges.

“A Separation” is one of the better movies I’ve seen this year.  It gave me a sense of what life is like in the Middle East with the many restrictions placed on people by the government and by religion that many here in America take for granted.

“A Separation” has grossed $22.7 million (one-third of that in the United States) with a budget of only $800-thousand.

(The cast and director at the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony)

The movie won many awards including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.  It was the first Iranian move to earn that award.

(Director/Writer/Producer Asghar Farhadi)

It was also nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, which is rare for a foreign language film.  However, it lost out to Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris”, which is also one of my favorite movies I’ve seen this year.

“A Separation” also won big at the Berlin International Film Festival where it picked up awards for Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Actor.

I highly recommend “A Separation”.  It’s out on DVD now.

GRADE:  A

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