I have three Best Picture Academy Award nominees left to see. I never got around to watching The Help, which I have downloaded on my laptop, and War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close haven’t been playing in theaters all week. While I am bummed to not see the full list of nominees heading into the Awards tonight, I am happy because I had the opportunity to see two other movies this week, which are actually likely to take home trophies tonight. I saw Pina on Thursday (the favorite to win Best Documentary Feature) and last night, I saw what is likely to be crowned the Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation.
I first heard about A Separation a few months ago from a friend in New York City. A few weeks later in early January, the Iranian film surfaced in the previews before Pariah. A Separation opened in San Francisco a few weeks ago and last weekend I got a first hand review from a friend on my Yosemite trip. He gave it two thumbs up and pointed out that it was one of Metacritic’s most highly rated films of 2011.
Last night I saw it for myself. Did the movie live up to all the hype?
This is one of the those movies that has all the ingredients of a good film. A Separation features great acting with characters you empathize with and a story that keeps you interested for 120 straight minutes. With a bit of a cliff hanger ending, you leave the theater asking yourself (and your movie mate) questions but you also feel a sense of satisfaction with the way it all wraps up. A Separation takes place in Iran and is filmed in Persian. Yes it can be exhausting reading subtitles for 2 hours but this movie rewards you with a glimpse into modern Iranian life and leaves you with a better understanding of how and why justice in Iran is driven by truth, faith and religion.
A Separation is definitely one of the best movies of 2011.