Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 28
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 28
  3. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 100
    Naturalistic, gritty, and unrelenting.
  2. Quiet, rageful indictment of a two-tiered Islamic society.
  3. Suspenseful and ingeniously directed.
  4. Circles the heart of noisy, modern Tehran with an informal, documentary-like freedom that is thrilling in its naturalism.
  5. Restrained yet powerful, devastating in its emotional effects.
  6. Reviewed by: David Chute
    90
    A triumph of invisible craftsmanship that embraces so much specific detail that none of the women ever comes across as an emblem or an abstraction.
  7. A stunning drama about the desperate state of women in Iran.
  8. The political implications of the film are manifest, as is the quiet courage of making it.
  9. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    90
    Both fascinates and horrifies with its bold assertions about what it means to be a woman under a cruel, institutionalized patriarchy.
  10. A memorable and devastating indictment of the oppression facing many women in Iran.
  11. 90
    The fact that this film, so sensitive to woman's plight, was made by a man is perhaps cause for a little hope.
  12. Panahi's simplicity accentuates the movie's power: its sense of life caught unobserved.
  13. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Such moral outrage, apart from the artistry in which it is embedded, tells us that the forces of change are stirring in Iran.
  14. 88
    The Circle is all the more depressing when we consider that Iran is relatively liberal compared to, say, Afghanistan under the Taliban.
  15. A mix of the poetic and the polemic, the film is oddly abstract and untethered.
  16. An extraordinary film from a born filmmaker.
  17. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    80
    This tightly structured, often exciting film is among the boldest in a series of increasingly explicit movies.
  18. 80
    The picture is so dramatically textured that you feel something's happening every minute.
  19. 80
    Panahi is a maestro of anxiety. Whatever its political significance, this is a dark, sustained, and wrenching film.
  20. 80
    Panahi creates a raw, riveting film.
  21. In its brisk way, it's a devastating piece of work, and very brave too.
  22. 78
    There's no denying it's a tragic film from start to finish, but equally undeniable is the endless stoicism displayed by the women, and Panahi's crisp, meandering direction.
  23. How dangerous it is to be a woman in Iran, especially one going against the wishes of her menfolk, is brought home time after time in these related vignettes.
  24. 75
    A terrific social drama, the work of an artist, not a pleader.
  25. It's a startling, speedy, gracefully executed indictment.
  26. A Kafkaesque series of interwoven stories that depict the hopeless lives half the populace there (Iran) must lead.
  27. In The Circle, which is banned in Iran, the enforced society of women is, in effect, a community of adults treated as children.
  28. This film is fighting the good fight, albeit in a rather heavy-handed way.

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