Full of the same astute and compassionate observations about unraveling, unhappy relationships, conjugal and otherwise, that distinguished his previous work, A Separation (2011), Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s latest film is set in a working-class suburb of Paris. It is there that Marie (Bérénice Bejo) lives in a cramped house with three children, her two daughters and the young son of her boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim), whom she hopes to marry soon. But before the couple can even begin to consider wedding plans, Marie must finalize her divorce from her estranged husband, Ahmad (Ali Mousaffa), who flies into Paris from Tehran for the court procedure. While staying with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Ahmad immediately becomes aware of the resentment, rage, and hurt harbored by many of those living under Marie’s roof. Her older daughter, the teenage Lucie (Pauline Burlet), for example, seems to be excessively hostile to Samir. As Ahmad tries to make sense of all this misery, including his own with Marie, Farhadi masterfully mines the regrets that have bedeviled The Past’s adult characters—whose despair permanently marks the younger ones.
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