Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 61 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Following a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, when his estranged French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), asks him to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past. [Sony Pictures Classics] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 19, 2014
    With The Past, Farhadi again displays a gift for poking into corners of nondescript lives and discovering unique drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Dec 20, 2013
    Another brilliantly mounted drama concerning fracturing families, hidden motives and the difficulties of attaining stability in a rapidly changing world.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jan 30, 2014
    The film's final scene, which manages to recontextualize everything we've seen so far with a brilliant simplicity that, if further proof were needed, establishes Farhadi as one of the best storytellers in cinema today.
  4. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Dec 20, 2013
    If The Past doesn’t equal the masterpiece that preceded it, it’s still an exceptional film from a man who is clearly one of the best working directors.
  5. Reviewed by: Phil de Semlyen
    Mar 17, 2014
    A bold, honest film about family life that showcases a terrifically unpeppy turn from Bejo.
  6. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 18, 2013
    It’s almost impossible to describe the narrative specifics of The Past without making the movie seem ridiculously hammy. Indeed, several twists involving Samir, a dry cleaner with plenty of his own troubles, tip a bit into hoary melodramatics.
  7. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    May 26, 2013
    It’s intricate and often mature as drama, but it’s also meandering and at times heavy-handed, even melodramatic, and the tight control of time, place and action which made ‘A Separation’ so gripping is just not there.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Feb 16, 2014
    This is one one the best movies I've ever seen. Farhadi brilliantly takes us on a roller coaster ride through the relationships among the characters. We start with the relationship between a woman and her husband who returns to sign final divorce papers. He arrives at the airport and goes to baggage claim, but his suitcase has been lost. She sees him and tries to get his attention but can't. He finally sees her but there is a glass wall between them. One expects that this relationship will be examined more in depth. Instead, we careen to the mother-daughter relationship. The mother hopes the husband can help with the daughter's worsening behaviors. We then bounce to the mother-boyfriend relationship. The mother and husband are going through the final divorce procedure and the boyfriend is calling. He wants to know if he should accept the husband's damaged baggage which has been delivered to the house. A critic described the plot as meandering. I found it fascinating to go down the rabbit hole - but instead of straight down, we are redirected to tunnel after tunnel. We end in a place impossible to predict.
    In addition to the roller coaster ride through these relationships, we and the characters gradually learn their secrets and motives as both known and unknown to themselves. We think we learn the truth, then it is violently ripped away. We are largely left adrift and with ambiguity, yet the story is still satisfying because it feels real. Being in the field of psychology, I was struck by the authenticity of the emotions, the misperceptions and the misplaced assumptions. I believe this movie captures the complexity of relationships, motives and human truth better than any I've seen in recent memory.
  2. Feb 26, 2014
    Sheer magnificence in every way. The characters have all the complexity of people you know well. The revelations of the story are compelling but completely believable. The acting is faultless. And the film is more visually compelling than the director's last masterpiece, A Separation. This Iranian director has emerged as an absolute master of the film medium. Expand
  3. Dec 20, 2013
    Past Or future
    Past Or future by Hossein Aghaee.
    *** This review may contain spoilers ***
    Caught "The past" Asghar Farhadi's latest work
    last night in Isfahan" Farhadi's hometown" I gave ten star to the past like A separation but i confess that i like A separation more than this movie. The film was a masterpiece of Asghar Farhadi just like other film from this director. I hadn't been swept off my feet for a while, and The final sequence of the film had me amazing where name of Bérénice Bejo And Ali Mosaffa was appear in Céline and Samir hands masterfully. I will be shocked if this movie doesn't win an academy award and I hope heard the name Of Iran and Asghar Farhadi when the pocket will be open in this ceremony. This film start little late but when Ahmad and Lucie meet together for second time Farhadi enters first shock to the viewer. From this moments we can see specific signature of Farhadi's drama in this movie. Farhadi never talk about his movies explicitly but I guess purpose of The Past sending an alarm to the selfish man who's always run from his past or in other words its past decisions. This past decisions is impact in our life and the others that we like them to much and Farhadi says "Be careful of Bad effect" maybe for this Marie never let to Ahmad to explain the reason for departure because She believe That decisions is the starting point for adventures that occurred four years later.Similarly, we can determine to the relationship between Marie and Samir or decision of Lucie or Naïma's decision and Or even the Céline's decision. Expand
  4. Jan 9, 2014
    The only reason I gave this a 9 was the fact that "A Separation" exists. Both stemming from the same vein, marriage troubles creating a hostile environment, the intensity to which the trouble brews is outstanding. No need for music cues or your typical nonsense. This film is filled true raw emotion. I think Berenice Bejo should be nominated for just that reason. Expand
  5. Apr 12, 2014
    It's not always fair to judge a film by its director's previous endeavours, but it's almost impossible to watch "The Past" and not think of director Asghar Farhadi's previous masterpiece "A Separation," a study of two families attempting to navigate Iran's repressive domestic laws and the erosion of their relationships. As the title indicates, "The Past" remains idle in a shared history with its characters who bear the weight of guilt and resentment that fuels this slow burn domestic drama. Ultimately, "The Past" explores the emotional damage that can incur when lines of communication inevitably break down.

    Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) are estranged spouses. Ahmad returns from Iran to France, where Marie lives, to finalize their divorce. When he arrives, he learns that Marie is living with Samir (Tahar Rahim), and Samir's young son, as well as with her own two children from a relationship previous to Ahmad. As Ahmad tries to make the best of his sometimes uncomfortable visit, he finds himself in the middle of several tumultuous situations. As the days pass, more about the lives of these people are revealed, and with considerable consequences.

    Farhadi's most complex and involving narrative to date provides a natural progression with no real plot twists while providing some unexpected turns. Teetering on the edge of contrived melodrama, the film builds towards a lackluster and formulaic finale that's nowhere nearly as compelling as Farhadi's uncanny ability to powerfully convey human insight and emotional turmoil. That being said, Farhardi's unsentimental and unforgiving approach ensures that this tale of domestic tension is in capable hands.
  6. Jan 27, 2014
    Another powerful film by the director of A Separation, with this having less of the obvious dramatics of the former, but a similar exploration of moral uncertainty and, perhaps, the anguish of human experience. The Past employs a similar set of characters – modern Iranian woman, nice but slightly ineffectual husband, difficult teenage daughter, woman in a menial role who plays a catalytic role in the film. This time it was Paris, not Teheran, and Marie-Anne’s husband flies in from Iran to sign the divorce papers. To find his wife ... you'll have to see the film! Anyway, lots of subtle twists & turns in the plot, and the agony of the children caught up in these adult dramas powerfully captured. And the film ends with you left wondering about what's happened, and what happens next. A great way to leave the cinema. Expand
  7. Jan 28, 2014
    It takes Iranian director and writer of the screenplay, 2 hours and 10 minutes to get to the end of this slow moving film and really doesn't have an ending. What happens to the characters in the film is left up to you to decide but you really don't care and by the time you leave the auditorium you have forgotten the film. The film is set in a suburb of Paris but you would never know as it doesn't feature anything in France except most of the language is in French.

    The film is about relationships and there are many in this film starting with Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) arriving from Iran, his homeland, where he had returned 4 years before not returning, leaving his wife Marie (Berenice Bejo) who has asked him to come back to sign the divorce papers. She has a new lover, Samir (Tahar Rahim) whom she is pregnant by and who has a wife in a coma in the hospital after attempting suicide. Marie has two children Lucie (Pauline Burlet) and Lea (Jeanne Jestin) from her first husband who now lives in Brussels with his wife while Samir has a son Fouad (Elyes Aguis) who has found a friend in Lucie. The two girls have come to see Ahmand as a father figure and it is Lucie, the ever sullen teenager, who points out to him and says, “Isn’t it obvious? The reason she is with Samir is because he looks like you!”

    Why does Marie insist that Ahmand stay with her and doesn’t book the hotel room he wanted? Why did Samir’s wife attempt suicide and will she come out of her coma? Samir owns a cleaners and has an illegal female worker Niama (Sabrina Ouazani) who was involved in a fight between his wife and a customer and the wife attempted the suicide in front of the worker. Marie has a sprained wrist which she blames the painting and refurbishing of her home and has nothing to do with the movie.

    The cast, in spite of being hindered by the director/writer, is more than adequate with Elyes Aguis as the young boy outstanding. Berenice Bejo who starred in “The Artist” makes up for not talking in that film and is far from the happy dancing she played in that film. The men, Rahim and Mosaffa, are interesting to watch but, like all the characters in the film, neither their guilt, their relationships or why they do/did certain things are explained.

    “The Past” is too long by at least 20 minutes and though a movie doesn’t have to provide answers it asks too many unanswerable, unnecessary questions.

See all 18 User Reviews