Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

Movie review: 'The Past' another powerful film from director Asghar Farhadi

See also

The Past (Le passe)

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

One of the best films in recent years that you probably haven't seen is Asghar Farhadi's A Separation. That 2011 Oscar-winning film was a powerful family drama written and directed by Farhadi and left the world waiting for his next project. Well, his follow-up film, The Past (opening today) has arrived and does not disappoint, cementing Farhadi's status as one of the most intriguing and talented directors currently working.

His new film is also a family drama, more interested in the study of real people than in creating contrived situations. It stars Berenice Bejo, the Oscar-nominated silent star of the 2012 film, The Artist, as Marie, a mother who has requested a divorce from her estranged husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), who returns once he is summoned to finalize things. Upon his return, he has discovered that Marie is in a relationship with another man, Samir (Tahar Rahim), who has a son of his own, Fouad (Elyes Aguis). Complicating things, Fouad's mother - Samir's wife - is in a coma.

This is one complex dynamic, or in other words, it's seems grounded in a believable reality. Each character instantly seems real, but as the film progresses they all change, grow and defy categorization. Writing and depicting complex people battling real-life drama seems right in Farhadi's wheelhouse.

Both Samir and Marie want to move forward, but they have one-foot firmly stuck in the past. Ahmad's presence complicates things, especially when he forms an unlikely bond with Samir's son - his still-current wife's boyfriend's son - Fouad. Ahmad chases to reclaim his past while Fouad tries to make sense of his. Each character cannot quite become what they want due to their inabilities to overcome what has come before.

Although not as deeply profound and moving as A Separation, The Past instantly draws you in and makes you invest in these people. It may be slow-moving for some, because Farhadi's style doesn't lend itself to massive plot twists or unnecessary scenes of action-packed gimmickry. But it is as real and raw as cinema gets.

Both Mosaffa and Bejo give riveting performances in a film that, once again, leaves us with an incredible anticipation of what is next for Asghar Farhadi.

Genre: Drama

Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, Rated PG-13

Starring: Berenice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Elyes Aguis

Written and Directed by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation)

Opens locally on Friday, Feb 14, 2014 (check for show times).

Be sure to watch Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment, airing at 10:30 p.m. EST every Sunday, on MYTV20 in Detroit.

Subscribe above for email alerts of all movie reviews and news, and follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli and at TomSantilli.com.

How to read Tom Santilli's "Star Ratings:"

  • 5 Stars: Exceptional, must-see movie
  • 4 Stars: Very good movie, not without flaws
  • 3 Stars: The movie was just OK, leaves a lot to be desired
  • 2 Stars: Pretty bad, a let-down, disappointing, but with some redeeming qualities
  • 1 Star: Awful, sloppy, a total waste of time
Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Weird Al
    'Weird Al' Yankovic gains his first number one album with 'Mandatory Fun'
    Music Buzz
  • LeBron James
    Frank Caliendo channels Morgan Freeman when reading LeBron James' letter
    Video
    NBA Buzz
  • NFL jerseys
    New York Giants and Jets fail to breach NFL's top 25 in jersey sales
    NFL Buzz
  • Slash
    Slash and The Conspirators crush it at Hard Rock, AP Awards
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Monks of Mellonwah
    Exclusive interview: Monks of Mellonwah talk music, touring and more
    Camera
    9 Photos
  • Bad Company
    Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd deliver a double dose of hits at the Blossom Music Center
    Camera
    20 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518215638" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518215638&autoStart=true"></div>
  • 'Rush' is very impressive
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517836682" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=517836682&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Tricia's retro film reviews: Port of Call
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CLkiVaE04gA?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>