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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2010
I first heard about this film while reading an article about it's star Shohreh Aghdashloo praising her performance. On doing some research I discovered it was a true story and based on on a book of the same name. This film has not been released here in the UK so I bought an imported copy from the US and how glad I am that I did.
The plot surrounds a journalist named Sahebjam who is approached by Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo), a woman with a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of her death the day before. Her story attempts to expose the inhumanity of Iranian Law and her last and only hope for justice lies in the hands of the journalist, who must escape with the story - and his life - in order to communicate the violence to the world.
Most of the film is told in flashback as we learn Soraya's story and it is mainly a foreign language film (Persian) with English subtitles but with some English at the beginning and end when Zahra is relating her tale.
As the title suggests the film does become quite graphic as the story reaches it's climax but this is not gratuitous and only heightens the harrowing story. The performances from the stars are simply stunning and quite how Aghdashloo & Mozhan Marno (Soraya) missed out on awards/nominations galore is a mystery, perhaps the films lack of a major international release could explain it, or maybe the subject matter is simply too taboo?
Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this film to all, it really is an injustice that it is not more well known. Snap up a copy today....drama, food for thought, terrific performances, definitely money well spent and you certainly won't regret it!
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on 21 August 2012
this is an exceptionally good movie, it is based on true events that are quite barbaric and ultimately gruesome. the acting is first class, many of these actors i have never heard of before and they all play their part superbly. the action takes place in one village in Iran. without giving too much away, a woman is accused of adultery by her husband who wants a divorce to marry a 14 year old. you can sort of guess the outcome because of the title.
this film had me engrossed from the first minute,and it is hard to imagine that this kind of barbaric behaviour still goes on today in some parts of the world. the stoning is very graphic and superbly done. this movie will no doubt upset some viewers, it wasn't the gory nature of the stoning that bothered me, i've seen far worse, it was what this poor innocent woman went through as the result of lies spread around the village, and the hell she endured in the last minutes of her life.
i definately recommend this movie.
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on 16 March 2011
This film gives an amazing insight into cultures that, from day to day, we don't stop to think about.
It is an in depth look at the way females are seen by certain religions and culture. If you want a film that moves you this is it!
When you watch it you want your friends to watch it. It is about a story given to a reporter whos car just happens to breaks down in a remote village in Iran. While he waits for his car to be repaired he is approach by a local woman. The aunt of another woman who had recently been stoned soraya M. Her aunt tells Soraya's story in the hope of the world finding out what had happened and helping to make a change.
The whole story is amazingly male orrientated to the point that any 'normal' male watching it will also have to agree that these men are wrong! It tells a story of a life that has no justice nor respect for women to the point that her own father throws the first stone saying as he does ' DIE C*$!' her own young sons join.
Considering her crime was invented by her husband who wanted a 'free' divorce so he could sleep with a teenage girl and you start to understand how this film shows injustice at its very worst.
Even more disturbingly it is based on a true story. Unfortunately I can believe more was fact than exageration
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on 28 December 2015
I have to agree with the other reviewers that this brought home the truth about Sharia Law, and why it should not be allowed anywhere in the world, let alone here.
My heart is still beating hard after watching the injustice that women from Muslim regimes face at the hands of men, and that includes from their own sons and fathers.
As it states in the film, men who commit adultery must be proven guilty by their wives, while women can be accused by their husbands (as in Soraya's case) and must prove their innocence. Not only that, everything in these cultures keeps women down, acting as slaves to men.
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on 12 December 2015
This is a very real and sad story of a woman horrifyingly murdered on the say so of a group of so called men. I can never imagine this happening in the UK or any western country but the truth is this is happening in the world. Women have no rights. Women have no voice. Women are seen as sub human. Women are not safe. They have no freedom. I watched this film and cried. I feel so lucky to have all the rights and freedoms that this woman was denied. Be prepared to watch some gory and barbaric scenes which will only fuel your rage and leave you utterly speechless.
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on 7 December 2015
This shows up what happenings when certain people use their religious laws to destroy a good person to further their own selfish ends how they set this woman up who was innocent and had not committed any crime or broken any law , she was buried halfway on the ground so she could not move her body while they were throwing stones at her , this pagan custom should be stopped they even got her own father to denounce before they stoned her even if she had committed what they accused her off no human being in our day and age deserves it that's why I give it a five star
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on 25 March 2013
The story of this woman, accused of adultery and murdered in the name of 'honour', just because her husband wanted to have another wife, is heart-breaking. The stoning scene is graphic and I couldn't watch it.

However, this is an important story - it shows the casual horror of women's lives when men hold all the cards in a society - the lives countless millions of women live toady, particularly in moslem countries under Sharia law, where contempt for women is institutionalised.
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on 14 June 2013
This film was shocking in the way women are treated in a country where the word of the man is supreme. This story showed how a man can manipulate events to make sure that he gets what he wants. In this case it is not only a divorce but the death of his wife. He managed to make sure she appeared to be guilty of adultery which resulted in the punishment of stoning. Whilst he the adulterer got away with his crime.
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on 29 December 2015
So very sad to watch.
I give this film five stars not because I think people should watch it not because 'I loved it' as such, as it wasn't enjoyable in any good way aside from educating people around the world to show them what goes on in some countries and how the same standard human rights should be in place for all men, women and children around the world regardless of what religion/faith they are from. Ones religion has nothing to do with what's right and what's wrong and behaving worse than any wild savage animal would!

This film is too much? Is it exaggerated? Too violent? Well hello of course it should be!! What happened was exactly that! Since when can stoning be depicted in any other way than vile or exaggerated!? Especially to an innocent woman. I mean how can stoning be exaggerated anyway? - directed to the person who said this in an earlier review about the film (it's people like you with those thoughts of yours is what we need to worry about in life!).
What about the paedophile husbands wanting to marry and be with underage children? Since when did that become holy and acceptable in any religion - except for religions that are re-written or 'twisted' to suit that individual. That to the normal educated person would be sick and unholy!

They have to film and express the brutality as this is what it was/is and you need to close your eyes and switch off like everyone else does if you can't handle the truth and stop slating this true story- what would you know unless you have lived in a village with small uneducated minds like these in the film.

Yes this is happening all around the world in other countries, to women and children- stoning and worse! I'd love to hear of a situation where a man is being stoned for beating or cheating on his wife within the Muslim faith- I wonder how many of those 'convictions' like such are out there. And of course the rest of the world has the power to make vast changes not only to violence but poverty also...but unless the country/ city in question has no oil, gas, metals, commodities etc. or money then all those powerful people all around the world aren't interested! It's only when 'the people' in their millions ask questions or complain, will they ever act. I commend the minority of good people out there who try to make a difference and who aren't scared and speak up on behalf of the weaker and unheard in this world, not all journalists follow or write about spoilt popstars. Freidoune Sahebjam who wrote the book wasn't scared about taking any controversy that would go with the publishing of the book and of course the bravery of Soraya's Aunt who stood up alone (as a woman) to the ruthless village.

Not surprisingly the book is banned in Iran, I wonder why....
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on 21 May 2011
Based on the book written by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, The Stoning Of Soraya M. is a powerful and damning uncovering of the state of human rights for women in Iran. The book was a massive best-seller and is still banned in Iran to this day. While travelling through Iran, Sahebjam (played by James Caviezel in the film) arrived at a small village when his car broke down and learned of the terrible story of Soraya Manutchehri through her aunt, as she revealed to him how the lies and the corruption of powerful men in the village led to the brutal murder of her niece.

Soraya (Mozhan Marno) is unhappily married to the violent Ali (Navid Negahban), who after falling for a 14 year old girl, wants a divorce and to take his two boys away with him. Soraya refuses, as the pitiful support that Ali had offered in return would not be enough to sustain her and their two daughters, whom Ali has no interest in. When Soraya goes to help out the recently widowed Ebrahim (David Diaan) by looking after his house and child, Ali accuses her of adultery, which is a crime punishable by stoning in Iran. Ebrahim is threatened if he doesn't agree with the accusations, and Ali along with the town's mullah (Ali Pourtash), cook up rumours about the infidelity, and eventually Soraya is 'tried' and sentenced to death by stoning. Her aunt Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo) campaigns against it but to no avail, and must wait with Soraya while they await the inevitable.

I wouldn't be ruining anything by saying that Soraya is stoned to death towards the end of the film. I mean, the film is called The Stoning Of Soraya M. When it does arrive, it is the most brutal and realistic portrayal of a stoning I've ever seen on screen. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen it done before, but it's a sickening scene that really forces the point home. The film teaches a lot about what some of the laws dictate in Iran and the appalling attitude it has to women. When Soraya is first accused, she is told she must prove her husband wrong. She asks that surely it is down to him to prove that he is right? But she is told that if it was a man that was accused by a woman, then the woman must prove herself right, and when the other way around, it is again down to the woman to prove the man wrong. It is truly a man's world, and women seem to be damned regardless.

I have to mention that I am basing my opinion solely on this film, as I have never been to Iran, and want to make that clear. But amongst all the news reports of women being stoned to death after being raped, and having a child outside of marriage, it doesn't sound like the most liberal, forward-thinking country. It is an appalling state of affairs that in the modern world women would be treated with such disregard.

The film itself, however powerful, seems to be a little one-dimensional. It is undoubtedly an eye-opener and delivers a gut-punch message, but the scheming men behind this terrible crime are portrayed so viciously and without trying to show a reason behind why they are like this. These men are evil, there is no doubting that, but I felt the film could have delved deeper into the social attitudes of the country on a larger scale, to help me understand how Iran has become this way.

But the film did have an effect on me. Afterwards I felt angry and appalled, and stunned that this is an event that actually happened. How can these men gather around like a pack of wild animals and watch a helpless woman die in one of the most horrific and painful deaths imaginable?

I feel this could have been a much better film if director Cyrus Nowrasteh wouldn't have been so focused on simply telling the events that unfolded, and put more emotion into the script and the character development.

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