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A Separation (2011)

tomatometer

99

Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 149
Fresh: 148 | Rotten: 1

Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity.

100

Average Rating: 9.3/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 0

Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 20,693

My Rating

Movie Info

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 Nader 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.

PG-13,

Art House & International, Drama

Asghar Farhadi

Aug 21, 2012

$7.1M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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Cast

Latest News on A Separation

December 29, 2011:
Critics Consensus: Streep Carries The Iron Lady
Happy Holidays! This week at the movies brings no new wide releases, but we've got one hotly...

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All Critics (150) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (148) | Rotten (1) | DVD (3)

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

June 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

March 7, 2012 Full Review Source: The Atlantic | Comment (1)
The Atlantic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 17, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comments (2)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

February 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Comments (2)
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ambiguous endings can work for some films, but it doesn't here. Still, the powerful performances and near seamless screenplay leave little else to be desired. A Separation deserves its Oscar.

April 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

A case study in how simplicity can produce spectacular results that extend far beyond a film's budget.

August 25, 2012 Full Review Source: NECN

[A] flawless domestic portrait.

August 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Limelight
Limelight

... a complex and nuanced movie about the ... the collapse of a relationship between intelligent people of good will. It is heartbreaking and subtle, the sort of film that some folks say isn't made often or well enough by the usual Hollywood suspects.

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A Separation infuses a great insight into modern Iran with a powerful insight into the human condition - this demonstrates the power and poetic potential of cinematic drama. It's a MUST see.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

Writer-director Asghar Farhadi performs some kind of miracle with the tension and complexity he produces from such a simple set-up.

April 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

...riveting, enormously resonant and impressively acted...

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

Fahardi's accomplishment is to have brought to the screen a group of equally complex, equally flawed, and equally human characters whose only real problem is that they must live life with each other.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Screenwize
Screenwize

Offers an unwritten ending that must be decided by each viewer.

April 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

... subtlety and a sense of profound decency ...

March 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Comment (1)
Sacramento News & Review

A clever, insightful and heartfelt examination of human frailty that makes watching subtitles seem like a breeze.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: KC Active
KC Active

It's fast paced, exciting, thrilling, edgy, moving, engaging, and - in its portrait of a justice system almost radically alien to the one I live under - absolutely fascinating.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: ABC Radio (Australia)
ABC Radio (Australia)

Although the film might serve as a portrait of Iran's two conflicting social groups as reflected in the Green movement/Ahmadinejad clashes, it is much more about moral contradictions that any society has to face. A masterpiece.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

It's the little moments in Farhadi's film that are its most important, speaking every bit as loudly as its big, narrative-driving moments.

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

If any one film can re-inject life into an entire national cinema, it's A Separation.

March 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

You may also find that some aspects of this very foreign story seem disturbingly not all that foreign.

March 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Nothing earth-shattering happens in A Separation, but the straightforwardness of this view of a disintegrating marriage, set in the context of complicated cultural and religious morés, is dramatic by itself.

March 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

An outsider could see these characters as misguided. That's not the reality however. Farhadi slips us into their shoes and we appreciate each of their perspectives.

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

Audience Reviews for A Separation

Strange country...strange culture..
July 9, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

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 strongest 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.
April 7, 2013
danperry17

Super Reviewer

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 Iranian 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.
March 6, 2013
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

"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.
January 30, 2013
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

    1. Termeh: If you don't say a lie, why you should be careful?
    – Submitted by Reza P (20 months ago)
    1. Simin: What did you do to her?
    – Submitted by Kaivon Y (2 years ago)
    1. Razieh: [pleading] By Imam-i-Hussein [later] by Imam-u-zaman.
    – Submitted by A. A (2 years ago)
    1. Nader: What is wrong is wrong... No matter who says or where it's written.
    – Submitted by Reza A (2 years ago)
    1. Simin: He doesn't even know you're his son.
    2. Nader: But I know he's my father...
    – Submitted by Khashayar M (2 years ago)
    1. Termeh: You said it's not serious.
    2. Nader: It got serious.
    – Submitted by Eskandar J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Nader und Simin - eine Trennung (DE)
  • Nader and Simin, A Separation (UK)
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