A Separation

A married couple is having difficulties.  The mother wants to leave the country and take their 12-year old daughter with her.  The father doesn’t want to leave his Alzheimers’ afflicted father. The mother moves out anyway, and the husband hires a caretaker for his dad — an action which has unexpected, and fateful, consequences.

This Iranian film is not overtly political (it wouldn’t get past the censors otherwise). But the filmmakers are skillful enough to provide, as if by reflection, some sense of what life in modern Iran is like. We see characters interacting with both the formal legal system and the parallel traditional system of family-based conflict resolution. The characters differ in social class and religious observance, which produces situations whose complexities will seem strange to American audiences, and yet perfectly understandable. All the performances are terrific.

This film has no s*x, no cursing, and no overt violence. However, the depiction of marital discord, and its impact on the children of the marriage, may be too intense for younger kids.