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. 88
    The Circle is all the more depressing when we consider that Iran is relatively liberal compared to, say, Afghanistan under the Taliban.
  2. 80
    Panahi creates a raw, riveting film.
  3. In The Circle, which is banned in Iran, the enforced society of women is, in effect, a community of adults treated as children.
  4. Suspenseful and ingeniously directed.
  5. Circles the heart of noisy, modern Tehran with an informal, documentary-like freedom that is thrilling in its naturalism.
  6. Restrained yet powerful, devastating in its emotional effects.
  7. A stunning drama about the desperate state of women in Iran.
  8. It's a startling, speedy, gracefully executed indictment.
  9. Quiet, rageful indictment of a two-tiered Islamic society.
  10. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    This tightly structured, often exciting film is among the boldest in a series of increasingly explicit movies.
  11. 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.
  12. A memorable and devastating indictment of the oppression facing many women in Iran.
  13. 80
    The picture is so dramatically textured that you feel something's happening every minute.
  14. A Kafkaesque series of interwoven stories that depict the hopeless lives half the populace there (Iran) must lead.
  15. Panahi's simplicity accentuates the movie's power: its sense of life caught unobserved.
  16. The political implications of the film are manifest, as is the quiet courage of making it.
  17. 75
    A terrific social drama, the work of an artist, not a pleader.
  18. 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.
  19. 80
    Panahi is a maestro of anxiety. Whatever its political significance, this is a dark, sustained, and wrenching film.
  20. In its brisk way, it's a devastating piece of work, and very brave too.
  21. A mix of the poetic and the polemic, the film is oddly abstract and untethered.
  22. 100
    Naturalistic, gritty, and unrelenting.
  23. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Such moral outrage, apart from the artistry in which it is embedded, tells us that the forces of change are stirring in Iran.
  24. This film is fighting the good fight, albeit in a rather heavy-handed way.
  25. An extraordinary film from a born filmmaker.
  26. 90
    The fact that this film, so sensitive to woman's plight, was made by a man is perhaps cause for a little hope.
  27. Reviewed by: David Chute
    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.
  28. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Both fascinates and horrifies with its bold assertions about what it means to be a woman under a cruel, institutionalized patriarchy.

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