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'A Separation' review: A great story that, appropriately, will provide no enjoyment at all

  • "Do we really look like a happy couple?"
"Do we really look like a happy couple?"
January 26, 2012|By Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

***1/2 (out of four)

When two couples, two kids, a tutor and an ailing father become embroiled in a complicated debate over who’s to blame for a woman’s miscarriage, “A Separation” becomes what could be described as a lose-lose-lose-lose-lose situation. Everyone has an agenda, and deception has a way of unraveling even the best, most subjectively defensible intentions.

Culturally specific but universally relatable, this slowly escalating Iranian drama boasts incredibly impressive motivational clarity. Each character represents an important, well-defined place in a layered story covering issues of class, how to care for elderly people and the simple notion of wanting to leave Iran for a better place.

I’d be lying if I claimed to know anything about Iranian criminal investigations, so all I can say is that the procedural in “A Separation” seems to unfold a bit quickly, especially considering how many prisoners loiter around the courtroom. Its depiction of the challenge to find justice in the face of obscured truth and a broken system in many categories, however, sears like a life sentence.


Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

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