A Separation

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 444 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 444
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  1. Oct 4, 2012
    5
    I appreciate the candid view of life in the Middle East. Americans are not often treated to such subtle portrayals of the region- in fact, this is the first Iranian film I (and probably many others) have ever seen. For that, I am glad to have seen A Separation. Accurate representations of other cultures are always fascinating. And yet, I did not enjoy this movie. Almost everything aboutI appreciate the candid view of life in the Middle East. Americans are not often treated to such subtle portrayals of the region- in fact, this is the first Iranian film I (and probably many others) have ever seen. For that, I am glad to have seen A Separation. Accurate representations of other cultures are always fascinating. And yet, I did not enjoy this movie. Almost everything about it- the acting, the direction, the editing, the dialogue- was superb. Technically, it is a masterpiece; a tightly wound, densely layered film made with a degree of finesse rivaling the best efforts of Hollywood's elite. And for all that, it fails, as do most films of the cinema verite style of filmmaking, for one simple reason: nothing good happens. It starts bad and goes downhill from there. There is nary a single ray of hope, optimism, or humor to lighten the relentlessly grim, depressing atmosphere that pervades A Separation from beginning to end. By the halfway point, it is apparent the film has been written in such a way so as to prevent a happy ending. The characters have gotten themselves so entrenched in their problems that redemption is out of the question. I am of the belief that the "life sucks" attitude so common in modern filmmaking is merely an excuse for lazy storytelling. It is easy to make things hard on your characters. It is even easier to make them harder. To resolve these issues in a believable and compelling manner- and to avoid sentimentality and predictability in the process- is a real challenge, and one that that many filmmakers, unfortunately, choose to avoid altogether. The consequence of this artistic lethargy is a hopeless, unresolved feeling in the viewer's gut that persists for hours, days even, after the credits roll. That is not why I- and many, many others- go to the movies. If I want to feel like crap, I'll read the news, thank you very much. Expand
  2. Aug 31, 2012
    4
    This is a classic situation of a movie critics think is great but others feel far less enamored with. The acting is great and the look into Iranian culture is nice, but the movie is a bunch or yelling, lying and manipulation. The ending really spelled it out. The movie went nowhere and was uninspiring.
  3. Jan 10, 2012
    4
    Maybe i expected more after such rave reviews. But there is nothing new in this movie. Yes , the acting is great but the storyline is weak and uninteresting. Maybe there is something there on a deeper level but it escaped me.
  4. Feb 11, 2013
    6
    Not compelling movie making. Interesting to see another culture so close up, but does not make up for the tedium. Not sure a shorter movie would have done the trick: somehow the narrative had to be made more compelling without sacrificing the simplicity of settings, characters, and story.
  5. Feb 21, 2012
    6
    Maybe it is a great movie because it gives us an insight into another culture and another world. That is great as we usually get bullets and bombs and superheros. However, the movie is boring and painful to sit through. I could not watch it twice if you paid me. I was glad to see that Islam is as negative a force as other religions and I was glad to see that Iran is backwards. However, IMaybe it is a great movie because it gives us an insight into another culture and another world. That is great as we usually get bullets and bombs and superheros. However, the movie is boring and painful to sit through. I could not watch it twice if you paid me. I was glad to see that Islam is as negative a force as other religions and I was glad to see that Iran is backwards. However, I already knew that and this story did not have enough drama to keep my interest. Sorry but it may have needed a bomb or explosion in it. Expand
  6. Mar 11, 2012
    6
    I'm afraid that, based on the almost unqualified rave reviews, I went into this film with unrealistic expectations. On the positive side, it did provide an interesting window into contemporary Iranian life. It did present some very challenging dilemmas and some interesting character studies. It was interesting to see how men and women navigated the problems in an ostensibly male-dominatedI'm afraid that, based on the almost unqualified rave reviews, I went into this film with unrealistic expectations. On the positive side, it did provide an interesting window into contemporary Iranian life. It did present some very challenging dilemmas and some interesting character studies. It was interesting to see how men and women navigated the problems in an ostensibly male-dominated culture. It did stimulate good conversation after it was over. In it's positive qualities, it shared with The Descendants all of the things I've mentioned so far except the "male-dominated culture." On the negative side, it was a half-hour too long. None of the four main adult characters (the two couples) were easy to relate to and none of them demonstrated much growth as individuals across the length of the film. I'd contrast it very much with The Descendants in which difficult problems were presented but there WAS clear character development--the characters in The Descendants evolved and grew. In The Descendants, both characters and plot developed. In A Separation, IMHO, the plot develops but the characters do not. My advice having seen the film last evening? Discount the rave reviews about 40%. Ask yourself the question--do I like movies set in interesting places and presenting difficult dilemmas experienced by interesting characters who don't seem to learn or grow much from the events in the film? If the answer is yes, and clearly for many reviewers and users it was, go see the film. Expand
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 41
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 41
  3. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Mar 3, 2012
    88
    Every time it starts to feel like something we have known, we realize how unlike us these Iranian characters are.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 2, 2012
    80
    It's the little moments in Farhadi's film that are its most important, speaking every bit as loudly as its big, narrative-driving moments.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 29, 2012
    100
    It's a mystery wrapped inside an enigmatic nation, flawlessly acted and difficult to predict. I'm always impressed when a movie informs about a foreign culture while it entertains, and this one is powerful art in that regard.