What Is 'A Separation'? Oscar Nominees 2012 Guide
Nominated For: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay (Asghar Farhadi)
What's It About: Nader and Simin have been married for fourteen years and are trying to raise a daughter in Tehran; however, tensions rise as Simin desires to leave the country to escape the country's current conditions. Her husband wants to remain in Iran however because he cannot leave his elderly father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The couple's marriage falls apart over the disagreement and Nader suddenly finds himself trying to raise his daughter on his own, while also trying to tend to his dying father. He hires Razieh to help tend to his father, unaware that the decision will pull him into the middle of another family's conflicts. Razieh is deeply religious, her family is struggling financially and she will not do anything without the traditional approval of her hot-tempered husband Houjat; on top of all that, she is also trying to remain discreet about the fact that she is pregnant and is quickly overwhelmed by trying to take care of Nader's father. Nader's anger with Razieh's job performance results in a tragic accident and soon Nader, Simin, Razieh and Houjat are all put in front of a judge.
Why You Should See It: At its heart, " A Separation" is tightly-woven story of family conflicts. Each action between married couples produces a new layer of drama that affects their entire families. What's most remarkable about the story of "A Separation" though, is Asghar Farhadi's ability as a dramatist to take universal familial conflicts, wrap them in the cultural complexities of Iranian society and make it relatable to an American audience. Without trying to politicize too much, American audiences can only benefit from seeing a gripping piece of drama from halfway around the world; in spite of the turbulent political climate that currently exists, "A Separation" reminds audiences that there are real people going through real problems in Iran, just like everybody else trying to understand life.
It's Kind Of Like: The personal conflict of "Kramer vs. Kramer" with the world weariness of "Babel."