The Past (2013) is a foreign movie. It moves slowly but it is never boring. The ending leaves you with more questions than answers. This movie would never be made in this country. In general, I find that Americans want simple and straight story lines and they want a tidy resolution. You won’t get that in this film.
In The Past, Iranian writer/director, Asghar Farhadi takes his time in developing the characters and their relationships to one another. You have Marie who has two children, teenage Lucie and a younger daughter Lea. They are living with Marie’s boyfriend, Samir, and his son Fouad. Simple enough. Enter Marie’s ex-husband Ahmad who returns to sign papers granting Marie a divorce so that she will be free to marry Samir. Only Samir’s wife is in a vegetative state. It sounds crazier on paper than on the screen. It’s a glimpse of real people’s real life – their loves and their tragedies.
Lucie hates Samir for some unexplained reason. Upon Ahmad’s return Marie asks him to talk Lucie to see if he can better understand the cause of her teenage angst. When Lucie does open up to Ahmad she unintentionally becomes the catalyst that brings the past into the present. WHAM! we get hit right between the eyes as unexpectedly as do those in the film.
For every action there is a reaction. There are always three sides to a story. We learn that secrets can unwittingly cause harm to those we love. And we learn that the past never stays in the past. It is and always will be part of the present.
This is a great film. It deals with so many emotions: jealousy, betrayal, love, guilt and regret. It makes you feel and question how you would react, what you would do. This is not an easy movie to shake. Leave time so that you can discuss it afterward.