The Past (2013, Asghar Farhadi)

Quite excellent. A twisty secrets-and-lies family drama without any of the twists feeling contrived, and with none of the characters feeling less than sympathetic.

Marie (Berenice Bejo, star of The Artist) gets her separated husband Ahmad back to Paris for a divorce so she can marry Samir (Tahar Rahim, star of A Prophet). Marie’s two daughters and Samir’s son are moody because of family upheaval. But it turns out teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet, a young Piaf in La Vie en Rose) is also moody because she might be partly responsible for Samir’s current wife being in a coma. Samir’s employee at the dry cleaners (Sabrina Ouazani of a couple Kechiche movies) may also be partly responsible, but some details surrounding her near-suicide remain unknowable at the end.

Beaten out by Blue is the Warmest Color at Cannes, The Great Beauty at the Globes, and something called Me, Myself and Mum at the Cesars. Cinema Scope called it muddled, tedious and inept. “Farhadi’s direction is actually somewhat more serviceable than his writing, if you have a taste for television-style two-shots and bland compositions,” ouch.

Related posts