A Separation

DRAMA; 1hr 58min (Persian with subtitles)

STARRING: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini

Uncivil war: Hatami and Maadi

When Simin (Hatami) leaves her husband, Nader (Moadi), over a dispute about their 11-year-old daughter (Sarina Farhadi), Nader is forced to hire a carer (Bayat as Razieh) for his infirm father while he’s at work. Few jobs are more joyless than tending to an incontinent, Alzheimer’s-afflicted old man and Razieh, pregnant, overwhelmed and secretly knocking herself out to pay the debts of husband Hodjat (Hosseini), makes a poor fist of the job. After an altercation between Nader and Razieh turns ugly and she miscarries, the already unworkable situation plummets into free-fall, with Nader, Razieh and Hodjat ending up in court.


As the dominoes tumble, Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi traces their arc with dispassionate patience. In this densely layered and blisteringly performed story, each person has something to hide and the ensnaring preconceptions of social class and sex cut deep. Absorbing, troubling and impeccably put together, A Separation is about the perils of miscommunication and how one wrong-footed step can spark a civil war.