Is there a clinical term for a fear of marriage? If so, it can probably be used to define what I think about marriage. Outside of my parents and a few other couples, I don't think I've seen too many couples that were truly happily married. That stuff seems to be aggravating, tedious and stressful to say the least. One of my biggest problems with marriage is divorce. As shown in the film A Separation, divorce can be problematic and causes issues for the people in and around the marriage.
Simin (Leila Hatami) is a married woman who wants to leave her home country of Iran and she wants to take her husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) and her daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) with her. Nader refuses to go, because he wants to stay with his father who has Alzheimer's disease. After his refusal, Simin decides to file for divorce, but it doesn't go through. When the divorce doesn't go through and they separate, Nader hires a woman to help take care of his father while he is away during the day. He thought this would make his day easier, but it actually makes things much worse once he finds out about the maid's secrets.
Despite the title, most of A Separation had nothing to with the actual separation. It was primarily about how this separation changed the lives of these two people and many of the others around them. The most important change that we see comes after the arrival of the housekeeper that is hired to help the Nader out at home now that his wife is gone. This leads to the core aspects of the story and they eventually end up in court over an event that I won't mention for obvious reasons.
After that, a large portion of the film takes place in court and even more of the tension and negative vibes come out. The troubles with the housekeeper open up Pandora's box and the film asks the actors to tell this story and they do so effectively with the help of great directing. In just about every way, we see everyone's perspective in the film and why they want or need to do certain things.
You can say that A Separation doesn't have any people who were moral or immoral as far as their judgement is concerned. These are just people who are living their lives. In some instances, you can agree with a person and in the next, you may completely disagree with that same person. This is realistic, because sometimes people who try their best make choices or do things that may not be right, but they do them for the right reasons or under the right circumstances. Like in everyday life, you don't always agree with people, but you can understand their reasoning.
Not only do we see this from the story, we witness a tug of war for the heart of the couple's daughter, how crazy things get in court and how everyone involved is dealing with the multiple stresses in their daily lives do to the dire circumstances they face. The actors were able to pull it together by putting on very human performances. You were able to sympathize with their characters, because they were simply human beings trying to overcome some of life's difficulties.
Being able to translate that stuff onto the screen is good, but it's done in a way that's unusual. Your average film usually has music playing in the background to set the tone for specific scenes, but this is doesn't happen in A Separation. Except for the end credits, I'm 99.9% sure that they didn't use any music at all. I noticed the lack of a soundtrack about half way through and I actually liked the idea. It's not something that I would always want, but this was a nice touch for this particular film and it worked for me.
I Liked watching A Separation, because I was able to learn things about a culture besides my own. I always keep an open mind, because there are so many things to learn in life. Some of what we learn may help us in life and some may be good for educational purposes only. Either way, it's never bad to learn. Did it change my views on marriage? Of course not, but it did manage to reinforce my fears of saying "I do." I'm sure I'll have more women preach to me about the virtues of marriage, but I'll probably do the smart thing and ignore them like I always do.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Film Length: 123 minutes
Release Date: December 30, 2011
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics