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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A Separation illustrates how communication and telling the truth can solve a lot of problems, while lying and covering up can create more -- though it demonstrates this through a negative example rather than a positive one.
Positive Role Models
Most of the characters are willing to lie and cover up their knowledge to make things "easier" on themselves. Characters mostly communicate through arguing.
Violence & Scariness
There's a minor scuffle as an enraged man tries to eject a woman from his home. Also discussion of a miscarriage. Many shouting matches and tense arguments.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman realizes she must clean an old man who has wet himself, even though it's against her religion to see the man naked. The old man is shown in his underwear.
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Aside from angry, tense arguing, there's some swearing in the subtitles, including one use of "f--k," plus "a--hole," "bastard," and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarettes can be seen in one scene, but there's no actual smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Separation is a powerful Iranian drama with mature themes, including marital troubles and miscarriage, plus lots of tense, angry arguing. There's some strong language (in English subtitles) and some adult situations. In one scene, a very religious woman must decide what to do when, while caring for an old man, she finds she needs to clean him, despite the fact that her religion doesn't allow her to see him naked. Though none of the content concerns are individually all that age inappropriate for younger teens, overall, watching A Separation is a pretty intense experience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
At its core, A Separation is basically a standard potboiler -- it could have been ripped from the pages of a dime store novel. What counts is that talented writer/director Asghar Farhadi structures it in a culturally compelling and mysterious way, while balancing all the characters to avoid easily typed "good guys" and "bad guys." There are no winners or losers in this battle -- even Razieh's angry and frustrated husband comes across as wholly human.
Additionally, Farhadi carefully weaves timely social and spiritual issues into the film's fabric, such as Iran's complicated divorce system (as well as the complexities of marriage itself) and the limitations of religion: In one scene, Razieh must bathe the old man but feels she can't due to her beliefs. Most of all, Farhadi lets the audience decide. The opening scene is filmed from the judge's point of view, and the final scene leaves off just before a vital decision. (It's worth noting that all of this was done, miraculously, within Iran's strict censorship rules.)
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.