A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
"A Separation" is a film in which every important character tries to live a good life within the boundaries of the same religion. That this leads them into disharmony and brings them up before a judge is because no list of rules can account for human feelings. The film involves its audience in an unusually direct way, because although we can see the logic of everyone's position, our emotions often disagree.
The movie takes place in present-day Iran, a modern nation that attempts to live under Islamic law. The film's story has no quarrel with Islam, but it demonstrates that the inflexible application of the letter of the law may frustrate the spirit of the law. This is true in all nations under all religions and all laws. Laws are an attempt to regulate hypothetical situations before they may arise. If laws were replaced by principles, they might be a better fit with human nature.
Imagine this situation. Nader and Simin (Peyman Moadi and Leila Hatami), a happily married middle-class couple in Tehran, have a sweet 11-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi); Nader's senile father also lives with them. They have agreed in principle to move abroad, where they hope Termeh's prospects might be better. Simin is ready to leave now. Nader wants to stay for his father's sake.
"But he doesn't know you!" his wife says. "No, but I know him." Both are correct. Here we have the universal dilemma of Alzheimer's. At an impasse, Simin moves to her mother's apartment, and as a necessity sues for divorce, although the two want to remain married. Nader hires a caregiver for his father. She is Razieh (Sareh Bayat). She keeps the nature of her job a secret from her husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who as a strict Muslim, would never allow her to work in a man's household without his wife present.