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Nader and Simin argue about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. However, Simin is determined to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter.
For more about A Separation and the A Separation Blu-ray release, see A Separation Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 18, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini
Director: Asghar Farhadi
» See full cast & crew
A Separation Blu-ray Review
A wonderful interpersonal Drama earns a quality Blu-ray release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 18, 2012
From the title and description, one might reasonably assume A Separation focuses almost entirely on the difficult realities of a couple on the outs, with love in the rearview mirror and divorce a strong possibility -- even a foregone conclusion -- in the immediate future. That's certainly the foundation, but there's much more to Director Asghar Farhadi's (About Elly), wonderful A Separation, one of the most balanced, immersive, emotionally challenging, and dramatically satisfying pictures of the 2000s and from any corner of the world. The picture captures the essence of human conflict, of fear, misplaced blame, distrust, anger, vengeful thought, the rush to conclusions, and the mental and emotional drain of lives in turmoil, of the role of fate and circumstance and accident and deliberate action all come together into a singular, involved, inescapable confrontation where life and death are at the center of the conversation, where futures hang in the balance on the interpretations, truths, and falsehoods of the past. A Separation earned the 2012 Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and was awarded the Golden and Silver Bears at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) have been married for fourteen years. They have a bright eleven-year-old daughter named Termeh (Sarina Farhadi). Unfortunately, their marriage is crumbling. Nader wishes to remain in Iran, raise his daughter right, and care for his Alzheimer's-stricken father who requires almost twenty-four hour care, all while working a full-time job at a Tehran bank. Simin wishes to leave the country for the sake of her daughter, but to keep the family intact while abroad. The divide has led the couple to a breaking point, but the courts order Simin to remain in the marriage. She does, but leaves to live with her parents, forcing Nader to find outside help for his father's care. He hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat), a pious woman but a reluctant employee who dislikes the low pay and long travel required to arrive at the job site. She brings her young daughter with her and does not seek out her husband Hojjat's (Shahab Hosseini) approval for the position, determined to earn the family money at any cost, particularly while Hojjat is out of work. She soon comes to dislike the work -- not only for the pay, but the demands placed upon her and the doubts she incurs about the religious validity of her actions -- and hopes to clandestinely slide her husband into the job in her place. But circumstances dictate that she return day after day, until one day a series of events lead to tragedy, misunderstanding, and a feud between the families that will forever alter the course of the lives of all involved.
A Separation's greatest asset lies in its natural cadence and absorbing flow. Certainly there's a bushel of finely-tuned pieces -- more on those in a moment -- but the picture's ability to so effortlessly draw its audience into the story is key. Even as, for many viewers, the action unfolds half a world away in a land known but perhaps not fully understood, the picture tells a universal tale of raw human emotions and actions that transcend borders, tongues, lifestyles, and religions. The picture focuses on a broken family and the further rupture brought about by misunderstanding amongst two very different parties, both struggling through their own tough stretches of life, one the separation of family and the other a separation from dignity and trust. Hojjat's temper stems from his inability to find steady work, escalated by his learning of the terrible events centered on and stemming from his wife's employment under Nader. Nader's family struggles -- with his wife and his aging father -- strain him to a breaking point. Simin's singular focus on the divorce and Razieh's fear of facing the realities of her life all contribute to a verbal and, nearly, physical free-for-all that finds the parties fighting not always even for the truth or justice but their own personal validation and almost as a release of pent-up frustrations colliding against emotional barriers which crumble under the greater stress of criminal proceedings. The movie is as dramatically intense and as uniquely absorbing as any to come along in quite a while. It's the perfect Human Drama where simple events and complex characters together shape a uniquely intoxicating world of mystery, emotion, and reality.
Certainly, the character dynamics and the actors' portrayals define the movie even in ways the raw workmanship behind the script and story nuance and generalities both cannot convey. A Separation is a powerfully dynamic motion picture shaped by a number of incredible performances. All of the primaries -- even the father with Alzheimer's and Razieh's little girl -- never feel like characters in a film but real, tangible, life-lived people who have been shaped by a lifetime's worth of experiences and collected destinies that have led them to the shared moments as depicted in the film. Never does the movie or its characters feel like a fictional piece of work. It's that absolute believability and seamless blending of the fictional and the real and life and the cinema screen that make a movie great, and A Separation accomplishes that transition as well as any film ever has. The movie effortlessly combines a limited, intimate scope with expansive, complex drama, reflecting the realities of small-group struggles with uncanny precision. So real are the characters, so urgent are their problems, so involved are their lives, so captivating are their stories that this is the sort of movie audiences want to move through quickly so as to know what's to come of them but to at the same time move slowly to savor the experience, to cherish filmmaking at its finest. Any picture that can pull off that feat is worthy of commendation, and A Separation deserves every last accolade it receives.
A Separation Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sony's Blu-ray release of A Separation arrives on Blu-ray with a good, not great, 1080p high definition transfer. The image retains a light grain structure which provides film-like texture and enhances details throughout the film. The stable, consistent image offers viewers complex facial textures and attire, notably the fine creases as seen on Simin's head scarf. The various structural elements around the film -- Nader's home, the courthouse, the hospital -- look lived and worked in, in places rough around the edges but captured beautifully on Blu-ray. Colors are not exactly brilliant, but instead balanced and accurate. Sink textures are even, clothes are subtle but nicely rendered, and brighter shades, like the prominent green trim around Nader's front door, look great. Unfortunately, there are quite a few white speckles littered throughout, and edge halos wrap around characters and objects from time to time. Still, neither is of alarming concern; overall, the image is quite good, but there appears to be room for improvement.
A Separation Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A Separation features a DTS-HD MA 3.0 lossless soundtrack. Expectedly, the presentation offers limited range but nevertheless fine clarity and front-end spacing. It's somewhat flat, but effective in conveying the constant dialogue, clearly the film's audio centerpiece. Indeed, the spoken word plays clearly and evenly through the center, no matter the inflection or locale. The heated exchange between Nader and Simin at film's open seems slightly shallow and distant, but otherwise clear and focused. The presentation enjoys good spacing and light ambience in the crowded courthouse and hospital hallway scenes, where footsteps and side chatter nicely create a sonic sense of the size, shape, and activity level of those particular environments. This isn't a track designed to dazzle, and the presentation handles the limited elements well enough. The movie is so engrossing that the soundtrack becomes a true supportive element, a seamless piece of the puzzle rather than a prominent figure above anything else.
A Separation Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Separation contains a quality audio commentary and two fascinating director interviews.
A Separation Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Separation is an archival worthy picture, a textbook example of a perfect Character Drama, a wonderful motion picture experience that covers a broad range of human emotions in a universal tale of misunderstanding, distrust, passion, anger, and doubt. It's a powerful, moving, immersive, and complete motion picture experience. It's precisely directed, naturally acted, and expertly written. The film has earned countless awards and endless critical praise. It's one of the top movies of 2012 and it's not to be missed by any audiences that crave true, honest cinematic drama over repetitive blockbuster fare. Sony's Blu-ray release of A Separation features good video, steady audio, and a few quality extras. Highly recommended.
A Separation Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 21-28 - August 19, 2012
This week, Lionsgate is bringing The Hunger Games to Blu-ray. Like author Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel of the same name, the film aims to provide young adults with a fantasy far more unnerving than that of Twilight or Harry Potter; The Hunger Games takes place ...
• A Separation Blu-ray - June 25, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring A Separation to Blu-ray in August. Director Asghar Farhadi won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2012 Academy Awards Ceremony for this intimate drama about an Iranian family struggling to balance their culture's ...
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