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Movie Review: “The Past” Is A Storytelling Masterpiece

Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi once again showcases his unpredictable and enticing storytelling skills in his latest drama thriller.

Four years ago Ahmed (Ali Mosaffa) left his French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), and her two daughters from a previous marriage, to return to his homeland, Iran.   Now he has come back to France to finalize his divorce so his wife can remarry.  Upon his arrival, he comes to find out that Marie’s oldest daughter, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), can not stand the future husband to be, who also has his own son.  As Ahmed begins to discover the reasoning behind Lucie’s hate, secrets of how Marie and her fiancée got together start to unfold; leading to one shocking truth after another.

I think it’s best to not go into too much detail of the events that occur in this film.  The beauty and brilliance of the bilingual movie, spoken in both French and Persian, is how you are not able to figure out what will happen next.  In fact, you will probably assume that you have the entire story pegged out already.  It is definitely laid out that way in the beginning.  But like his format in A Separation, Farhadi makes the audience suspect multiple scenarios while keeping them on the edge of their seats.

The Past features spellbinding performances by the entire cast, with a stand-out performance by Bérénice Bejo.  Famously known for her role in The Artist, Academy Award nominee Bejo is even more captivating with sound.  Alongside her remarkable acting is the exceptional direction.  Farhadi not only writes a scintillating, detailed script without heavy dialogue, he also shoots his scenes in the most creative, yet subtle technique.

For anyone who enjoyed A Separation, I guarantee you will not be disappointed with The Past.  Following the same style and tone, this film draws you in and keeps you guessing till the very end.  The magnificent final shot will leave audiences experiencing various emotions when the last character that you would expect, sheds a tear.

Rated PG-13 for mature, thematic material and brief strong language.

The Past hits theaters on January 17.

The Past Trailer HD

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