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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class film making
This highly complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and bad beginnings messily intertwined with wrong decisions that seemed right at the time - Farhadi shows the desperation and anger involved in trying to annul incorrect life choices and defy the past. An excellent opening sequence shows an about to be divorced married couple banging their car while...
Published 12 months ago by johann28

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has some good parts, but is less accomplished than some of the director's previous films
An Iranian man named Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) arrives in France to sign the divorce papers to his French former wife, Marie (played by Berenice Bejo, who was lovely as Poppy in The Artist). He is surprised that Marie wants him to stay in her house instead of booking him into a hotel. But he is more surprised when he learns that he will share that house not only with Marie and...
Published 14 months ago by Andres C. Salama


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class film making, 9 July 2014
By 
johann28 (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
This highly complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and bad beginnings messily intertwined with wrong decisions that seemed right at the time - Farhadi shows the desperation and anger involved in trying to annul incorrect life choices and defy the past. An excellent opening sequence shows an about to be divorced married couple banging their car while reversing - looking back needs careful handling.

It's perhaps a little contrived in places, but this a very sophisticated, morally serious film from a sophisticated, morally serious film maker at the top of his game; a pressure cooker of passion and anguish. Just as in 'A Separation', it is the agony of splitting that reveals the truth of a relationship most clearly, with some very subtle political resonances also. Everywhere there are layers upon layers of unspoken reproach, guilt and fear, and the ending is absolutely heart-rending.

A number of characters here advise each other to forget, to break the past's terrible grip. But it is not so easy - forgetting the past means losing much of the present and much of oneself. Sombre and difficult to watch at times it may be, but this is wonderful film-making that will appeal to anyone with intelligence and life experience.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Past has consummate acting and meticulous direction. Farhadi has a rare gift., 30 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi follows up his Oscar-winning drama `A Separation' with `The Past', a French film set in Paris where Marie (Bérénice Bejo) is going through a divorce with her estranged Iranian husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa).

After being absent for around 4 years, Ahmad eventually responds to Marie's many summons to sign the divorce papers. He learns that many things have changed, that Marie now has a new partner in Samir (Tahar Rahim). Samir has a young son called Fouad (Elyes Aguis), to add to Marie's two daughters Lea (Jeanne Jestin) and the teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet) from her first marriage. This complicated family structure is further fractured by the fact that Samir is still married, whose wife Céline is in a coma. And its Celine's hospitalisation which triggers the emotional turmoil in everyone concerned.

Everyone seems to have dual existences, caught between the past and the current and unable to find a path to the future. Somehow, Marie has to decide what is best for herself and her family. She, and she alone needs to decide what the future holds for everyone. Farhadi's complex, intricate drama is a tragedy of good intentions and wrong decisions that seemed right at the time. Celine's situation is played like a murder-mystery, unravelled with consummate timing by Farhadi. It seems easier to cut your losses and move on, but nobody is capable of doing so. Paradoxically, Celine seems to have got off lightly.

Directing in a different language and culture, Farhadi has still managed to pull off another outstanding film. The acting, from the children to the adults, is quite extraordinary. As with `A Separation' and `About Elly', Farhadi manages to show a naturalistic humanity in all the characters. Even the children show a level of subtlety rare in film, especially in an extraordinary scene between Samir and Fouad in a Paris Metro station. Farhadi unravels the story meticulously, immersing you deeper and deeper into all these lives whose futures are at stake. The past is never shown, Farhadi's skill is in making the viewer piece together the past. The answers slowly come to the surface, but you couldn't say with any certainty of who was to blame. In the end, the final scene shows us what Samir doesn't see, which only adds to the uncertainty.

Farhadi tells simple stories that are intricately woven and deeply felt, raw and unsparingly emotive. You leave `The Past' not just thinking about the film itself but question your own life and the mistakes you've made, but ultimately its where you are now that is important. Farhadi has a rare gift.

Rating 9/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star reviews for me are extremely rare, but this film genuinely deserves five stars. A must to buy or view, 30 Nov. 2014
By 
Peter M (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
I have no difficulty or hesitation in saying that this film deserves five stars. Berenice Bejo may have won a Best Actress award at Cannes but this is acting of the highest quality from the entire ensemble cast. The story is fascinating but the storytelling is superb. What could, with another director, have provided material for a soap opera, is instead a convoluted but involving glimpse into a group of complex and messy lives of people facing issues with no easy resolutions. As more is revealed about the characters, you realise that initial assumptions and typecasting into good and bad are wide of the mark. Each character is trying their best to do what is right. It will keep you transfixed to the end and thinking and talking about it for hours or days afterwards. This is film-making of the highest possible quality. I have seen Farhadi's A Separation. This is as good, or even better.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ties that bind, 30 Mar. 2014
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
Expectations raised by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's earlier film, "The Separation" are not disappointed. "The Past" is an absorbing, subtle and complex drama of relationships set in the everyday world of a Parisian suburb where ordinary people have to juggle the needs of work and childcare with sorting out their emotional lives. Shifting between the characters' different perspectives, it manages to arouse empathy for them all in the process. Even with subtitles, the dialogue is excellent, reminding me of a very accessible Pinter play.

For reasons which are never fully explained, four years previously Iranian Ahmed left his French pharmacist wife Marie and her two daughters with whom he gets on well, although he is not their father. The film opens with his return to Paris at Marie's request to sign their divorce papers. Yet it is clear from the outset that, although they both regard their marriage as over, a natural intimacy between them still remains, they know each other so well. Marie can instruct Ahmed to help her drive by changing gear, since her arm is too painful for this. She even asks him to find out what is bugging her teenage daughter Lucie. It is not surprising that Marie's new lover Samir feels resentful and excluded. He is also trapped in the tragic effects of an ill-considered action taken by his wife, and the wonderfully acted scenes of his small son witnessing the drama of dysfunctional adult relationships and trying to make sense of them are poignant in the extreme. The little boy continually tries to apply the rules he has just learned only to find that some new factor contradicts them. Having learned the need to apologise for his bad behaviour, he then has to grasp that some adult breaches are simply too grave to be pardoned.

Despite the need to move on, the past creates a web of relationships, obligations and consequences of earlier actions which cannot be escaped. To what extent are we culpable if others misconstrue what we do or cannot accept our acts of selfishness? Is it necessary to confess to behaviour which has caused suffering, or are white lies sometimes the least damaging policy? Ahmed at times seems like living proof that "the way to hell is paid with good intentions" since his insistence on honesty risks making matters worse.

Rather like real life, the pain and anguish in this film are made bearable by touches of humour, curiosity as to how the plot will reveal its twists, the consistent high quality of the acting - the children's performances are very realistic - the minutely observed details of the domestic scenes, and moments capturing the joy of living, as when Ahmed serves up his mouth-watering traditional Iranian dishes.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... Powerful relationship and family drama, 17 Feb. 2014
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
"The Past" (2013 release from France; 130 min.) brings the story of Ahmad and Marie. As the movie opens, Marie is picking up Ahmad at the airport. We soon learn that Ahmad is visiting Paris from Tehran to finalize their divorce (at Marie's behest as she wants to remarry). Almost immediately they start arguing about minute details. Marie is letting Ahmad stay at her house in suburban Paris. Marie's two daughters from a prior relationship, young Lea and 16 yr. old Lucie, are happy to see Ahmad again, as it's been 4 years since he and Marie broke up. Lucie is having a very difficult time with her mom Marie, who is in a relationship with Samir, a drycleaner owner whose wife is in a coma and who has a young son. About 45 min. into the movie, Marie and Ahmad meet with the judge who pronounces them officially divorced. What will become of Marie and Ahmed? Will Marie marry Samir? Can Marie and Lucie patch over their difference? And how did Samir's wife actually get onto a coma? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, this is the latest movie from writer-director Asghar Farhadi, whose previous film, 2011's "A Separation" was fantastic (and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). "The Past", while very different in details and tone, is nevertheless in the same vein as "A Separation", as both movies document a powerful family and relationship drama. Second, it's not clear whether tit was the director's intent, but the movie shows the problems that can come from "mixed families", as in: kids from multiple relationship, have a hard time and are never the winners in these relationship dramas. The conflict between Marie and her oldest daughter Lucie is in particular complex yet also compelling to watch (I don't want to go into too many details). Towards the end of the movie, Marie confesses that she desperately wants to move on with her life and leave the past behind, "but what if we can't forget it?", she laments... Third, there are plenty of stellar acting performances, none more so than Bérénice Bejo as Marie (She won Best Actress at Cannes 2013, where this movie premiered), but Tahar Rahim as Samir and Ali Mosaffa as Ahmad are also outstanding. And what about Pauline Burlet as the troubled 16 yr. old Lucie! Kudos to all of them. What a refreshing movie this is! People having, you know, adult conversations that engage you. What a concept, right? This movie shows once again that you don't need the world blown up to smithereens every 5 minutes to create a powerful and entertaining movie.

Ever since this premiered at last year's Cannes festival, to much acclaim and buzz, I had been looking forward to seeing this movie. It finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati and I went to see it right away. The late matinee screening I saw this at was not well attended, although that is probably more a reflection of the terrible winter weather than it is of the quality of this movie. Iran submitted this movie in the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Movie category, Given than less than 1% (give or take) of the movie is spoken in Farsi, and the remaining 99% in French, I am not surprised that "The Past" did not get nominated. But that doesn't make it any less of a movie. If you are looking for a top notch quality foreign, conversation-driven movie, you cannot go wrong with this. "The Past" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I really liked this movie and the acting is brilliant although it ..., 2 Jan. 2015
I really liked this movie and the acting is brilliant although it is unrewarding in some aspects. The story line is quite tough and even cruel as it exploits a myriad of little unsaids leaving the viewer wondering around all of those taboos which affect the life of the main characters in an irrevocable way. Why did the Ahmad and his ex split up in the first place? Have they still got feelings for each other? Why did her new boyfriend's wife commit suicide? Where does Ahmad live now, what does he do? The film presents itself as a slice of life which raises lots of questions which it leaves frustratingly unanswered as a narrative strategy. It has a sense of hopelessness about it as it brings no form of resolution. All of the unsaids and taboos further prevent the spectator from using his imagination to get hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A finely nuanced film, 26 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Past (DVD)
An exceptional finely nuanced film telling a story about love, betrayal, misunderstanding and tragedy. All the characters have strong well written roles and from the start you feel the intensity as the narrative draws you in and the plot unfolds in a way that continues to surprise until the end.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning achivement!!!, 7 July 2014
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This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
Fabulous movie. Don't listen to the voices in some rewievs telling you this is a mediocre film. If you like slow-paced, on the spot-acting films this is the one. Nothing is "visible" in this film. By this I mean everything moves forward so efortlessly that neither the camera, the script... anything is ever "traced".
The actors outdo almost any "top" hollywood actor/actress. This is so subtle, moving deeper and deeper into the caracters, letting you getting to know other(s) perspectives so gradually you can feel it like a shiver down the spine.
I have a collection of about 1400 films spanning from silent movies onto almost every existing genre, covering all the great silverscreen creations worth mentioning... and this is right up there, in the very top of my best-of-list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the few fit to be mentioned with the great directors of the golden age of cinema, 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Past (DVD)
Farhadi is clearly one of the outstanding directors working today, one of the few fit to be mentioned with the great directors of the golden age of cinema, the fifties and sixties, Ray, Kurosawa, Bergman, Wajda, Antonioni and the French nouvelle vague directors. This is another masterpiece, a complex psychological whodunit exposing whose past has most contributed to the disasters of the present.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very nice movie, 19 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Past [DVD] (DVD)
That's a nice movie from Mr. Farhadi. Like his movies no start and no end :D
Something happening in France
We do not know about passed we do not know about future and some minors points...
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The Past [Blu-ray]
The Past [Blu-ray] by Asgar Farhadi (Blu-ray - 2014)
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